North Wales teens left victim with broken skull ‘for the sheer hell of it’ in Liverpool attack

Two North Wales teenagers have been sentenced for a brutal attack on an innocent man.

Jack Geary from Holywell and Thomas Price from Flint attacked James Hansen on Victoria Street in Liverpool city centre.

The pair left the victim with a broken skull, a bleed on his brain, and a broken nose and eye socket, among other injuries, according to the ECHO.

READ MORE: Four men sentenced to three and half years after brawl involving knives

CCTV footage from the attack was played for Liverpool Crown Court. It showed the pair knocking their victim to the ground, leaving him unconscious, and running off.

The court heard that, nearly a year later, Mr Hansen, 22, has not regained some of his sense of taste and smell.

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Judge Denis Watson, QC, said the « innocent » victim was attacked « for the sake of violence, just for the sheer hell of it ».

Geary, then 19, and Price, then 18, were in Liverpool with two women at around 4.15am on August 24 last year.

Callum Ross, prosecuting, said there was a « disagreement » between these two women and another two females, leading to a « physical altercation » between the four women.

Footage played in court showed Mr Hansen walking up Victoria Street towards Cook Street with a female companion, when he was suddenly attacked.

Mr Ross said Geary punched him three times while the victim was up against a shop window, before « Mr Price then joins in and punches Mr Hansen a further six times », knocking him to the ground.

The two attackers fled and met up again with their two female friends, before police, directed by City Watch CCTV operators, arrested the men in Dale Street.

Both Geary, now 20, of Coast Road, Mostyn, Holywell, and Price, now 19, of Coed Onn Road, Flint, gave no comment interviews.

They later admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in custody.

Mr Ross said: « Mr Hansen speaks of feelings still to this day of paranoia, of dread, of worry, and finds himself thinking about the night in question and is consumed by paranoia. »

He said the then 21-year-old, who was off work for a month, suffered « huge » pain, « severe headaches », problems sleeping and a loss of confidence.

The court heard Geary has five previous convictions for eight offences and on Monday this week received a suspended sentence of nine months’ detention, for an affray committed in November 2019.

Judge Watson said that meant Geary would have been either on bail or released under investigation at the time of this attack.

Price has one previous conviction for assault causing actual bodily harm when he was 16, for which he received a nine-month youth referral order.

Myles Wilson, defending both teens, said Mr Hansen was expected to make a full recovery « physically at least », but added: « Nevertheless, it is a short but pretty violent incident, that’s had an impact sadly on Mr Hansen. »

He said Geary « seems to have difficulty communicating with people who are trying to help him » and a pre-sentence report didn’t make any proposal other than custody.

Mr Wilson conceded Geary was « not good with words », « doesn’t like speaking to people about personal issues like his mother dying and who brought him up » and hadn’t made a good impression on the author.

But the lawyer argued the probation officer was « being overly pessimistic concluding on the basis of that he’s not motivated to comply with a community order because he says he is, because he knows what the alternative is ».

Mr Wilson said Price was a year younger and in a « better position », with just one previous conviction from his youth, a letter from his dad, his stepdad supporting him in court, and the offer of an apprenticeship from an employer aware of this case.

He said Price had an appointment with a psychiatrist « because he has had mental health issues » and is set to become a dad in November.

Mr Wilson said: « He wants to be a good father and a good partner – he doesn’t want to be in custody when his child is born. »

He added that Price’s girlfriend was relying on him because she suffers from anxiety.

Judge Watson said both teens had been drinking before they came across « the unfortunate and entirely innocent James Hansen ».

The judge told Geary: « He had absolutely no idea what was about to happen.

« He had, as far as I can tell, nothing to do with you at all over the course of the evening, but you and Thomas Price seemingly were up for violence for no reason other than you could and you had taken a drink.

« He was the subject of a rapid succession of heavy blows, three by you, swiftly followed by six from Thomas Price.

« It doesn’t matter who fractured his skull, or who fractured his eye socket, or who fractured his nose, who caused his brain to bleed – this was a joint attack and it was a devastating one.

« It may have been short, but it was very violent. It left him unconscious on the ground, lying motionless, as you thought how to make your way, as passers-by complained in outrage at your behaviour. »

Judge Watson took into account Geary’s age and immaturity but said it was a serious offence of violence while he was already being investigated for an affray, and locked him up for 15 months.

The judge told Price that Mr Hansen had caused him « no offence » either, but « for the sake of violence, just for the sheer hell of it », he joined in the attack.

General view of Caernarfon Crown Court, Caernarfon Justice Centre. Photo by Ian Cooper

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He said Price left his victim unconscious and « then you danced around, thinking where you were to go ».

However, he said given Price’s references and job offer, « there may be some hope yet for you ».

Judge Watson sentenced Price to 13 and a half months’ detention, suspended for two years.

He ordered him to complete 120 hours of unpaid work, a 20-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and a three-month home curfew, from 9pm to 6am daily.

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