'Why will thug be let out of jail so soon?'
A HOLIDAYMAKER left bruised and battered in a vicious unprovoked attack by two thugs has hit out at the sentence received by one of the St Austell men.
Paul Whitehead, 27, was visiting his parents in the town, when he was attacked by Nathan Husband and Daniel Ridgment last August.
The pair kicked and punched the council employee so brutally that their bloodied victim needed hospital treatment for a fractured nose and concussion.
He was left with a black eye, a 2in scar on his cheek, severe bruising and is only now beginning to piece his life back together.
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Mr Whitehead, from Lincoln, told the Cornish Guardian: "I honestly thought I was going to die."
At Truro Crown Court on Friday Husband, aged 22, of Hazel Close and 25-year-old Ridgment of Boldventure Road, were jailed for 15 months after being convicted of actual bodily harm. Husband's total prison sentence will be 30 months after he was also imposed with a further 15 months after admitting to another vicious offence.
Sentencing the pair Mr Justice Butterfield said: "Paul Whitehead was minding his own business when you decided to have some fun with him.
"One or other of you knocked him to the ground where he was kicked, suffering very significant injuries."
However, Mr Whitehead said he was shocked at the leniency of Husband's sentence. He is seeking answers as to why a thug with a string of convictions, many of them violent, will be free in just a year and a half.
He said: "A year and a half is no time to rehabilitate a person such as Husband. The leniency of the sentence does not reflect the crime. I was expecting from the comments made by the previous judge on May 30 that Husband would receive the maximum sentence of between five and seven years."
Mr Whitehead had been in Cornwall on a family visit for less than 24 hours when he was attacked.
His girlfriend Gemma Minns and father Lee witnessed the horrific assault which was launched while they were out walking the family's dogs near Spar shop, Bethel.
The men sprung after Mr Whitehead asked Husband to stop taunting the dogs.
Mr Whitehead told this paper of his horror as Husband punched him in the face and Ridgment began choking him.
In court Husband claimed he was the peacemaker and denied striking or kicking Mr Whitehead as did Ridgment who said he had only acted in self-defence against his victim.
After the sentencing Mr Whitehead said: "Daniel was still choking me and I started to black out and I thought I need to do something or I will die. It was at this point I summoned up all of my strength to stop him."
Mr Whitehead managed to pull out his mobile phone and snap the gang as they fled from the scene.
The court was told that Husband had made 17 previous court appearances for 24 offences, a number involving violence.
Jeremy Leaning, defending Husband, said that the violence was unplanned and impetuous and both were preceded by heavy drinking, the result of feckless living.
Since being given the chance of a suspended sentence Husband had stopped drinking and drug taking and was engaging with probation and had plans for a future in Weymouth on his release, he said.
The court was told Ridgment, who had three previous convictions, had suffered a blip in an otherwise period of good behaviour.