Jail for Burnley men who beat up victim in his own home

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TWO Burnley men involved in an attack on a man in his own home with an iron bar and knife because they believed he made a phone call which led to an arrest, have been jailed.

Victim Steven McDougall (20) curled up in a ball to try and protect himself from violence at his address in Darwen.

One of the pair struck him to head and arms with the bar while the other pressed a knife against his leg.

Before leaving the home, one of them said: “We’ll be back later with some guns.”

Preston Crown Court heard details of the attack as two men were each given 12-month prison sentences.

Matthew Spencer (22), of Aylesbury Walk, who used the iron bar, had pleaded guilty to an offence of aggravated burglary.

Barry Willers (38), of Amersham Grove, who drove the two attackers to the scene had admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Also appearing for sentence was Lauren Duke (20), the daughter of Barry Willers.

She admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm and was ordered to carry out 100 hours’ unpaid work for the community.

Her basis of plea made it clear she did not know how extensively the two men would assault Mr McDougall, or that weapons were being carried.

Miss Emma Kehoe (prosecuting) said earlier that day, Boxing Day 2009, it was thought by all the defendants that Mr McDougall had made a telephone call which led to the arrest of Duke’s brother.

She then made phone calls to members of her family, telling them what she believed had happened.

The second man who used violence with Spencer has never been identified.

Mr McDougall was in his front room that afternoon when two strangers walked in, carrying weapons. He curled up in a ball, while sat in a chair, to try and defend himself.

He was hit over the head with the bar and then on his raised arms as he tried to protect his head.

A second man pressed a knife against his leg.

Mr McDougall was initially reluctant to speak to the police, but contacted them the following day. He had gone to hospital, but did not stay to be treated.

Mr Philip Holden (defending Spencer) said it was conceded that a prison sentence would follow. A guilty plea had been entered at the first opportunity.

Mr Martin Hackett (defending Willers) said he was an older man and should have known better. He behaved totally out of character. Neither he nor his daughter had any previous convictions.

Willers had admitted taking two men to the address. He thought Mr McDougall would be assaulted, but had no idea that weapons would be used.

Mr David Temkin (defending Duke) said she was genuinely remorseful for what happened. She had insight and empathy into the victim’s experience.

Passing sentence, Judge Anthony Russell QC said: “This incident was a disgraceful and serious one. It seems Mr McDougall was fortunate not to be more seriously injured.”