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Saturday, 01 November 2014

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Thug instigated ‘ferocious’ attack on family

A THUG who summoned 20 friends to viciously attack an innocent Whitehaven family as they left Carlisle Fireshow has been jailed.

The brutal attack on the Raffles estate left the father unconscious in a pool of blood, his partner lying in the road with a broken hip, and their 15-year-old son being chased by gang members who threatened to stab him.

A detective who investigated the terrifying mob attack said it was the worst violence he had seen in the area in 20 years.

Carlisle Crown Court heard on Tuesday how the family were attacked after Anthony Queen mistook one of them for his cannabis dealer. When one family member laughed at the mistake, Queen, 22, used his mobile phone to summon his violent pals.

They then launched a ferocious assault, punching, kicking, and stamping on their victims.

Queen, of Sewell Place, Currock, admitted a single charge of affray and was jailed for two years and two months.

Tim Evans, prosecuting, described how last November 5 Anthony Armstrong and his partner Louise, their 15-year-old son, Mrs Armstrong’s brother, James Kennedy, and a 19-year-old family friend, came to Carlisle from Whitehaven to see the Fireshow.

The group was heading back and walking through the Brookside area of Raffles when Queen approached Mr Armstrong, asking him if he had any cannabis.

Realising the mistake, Mr Kennedy thought the request was funny and laughed, at which point Queen, who had been drinking, tried to punch him, said Mr Evans.

Mr Armstrong, 6ft 5ins tall, intervened, holding Queen off as the defendant punched ineffectively at thin air. “Mr Armstrong made it clear he wanted no trouble, and that caused the defendant to back away.”

Queen told the group they were “dead” and then used his mobile phone to summon “reinforcements”. Soon after, between 12 and 20 men swarmed out of a nearby house, one armed with a baseball bat, and began their attack.

Mr Armstrong was hit on the head, and knocked to the ground, where he lay unconscious, his face covered in blood as about six men kicked and punched him.

Mrs Armstrong recalled one of the group chasing her son, threatening to stab him. She was hurled to the ground, and left lying in the road, her hip broken. Her son was hit over the head with the baseball bat as he tried to protect her.

The defendant’s criminal record already includes 22 offences. Queen had not personally attacked Louise Armstrong, said his solicitor, Keith Thomas.

Passing sentence, Recorder Raymond Herman said the attack was “ferocious,” telling Queen: “You instigated it and took part in it, and you were the cause of this mayhem.”

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