Charity worker who said he would ‘purge homeless' jailed for more than seven years in brutal attack on rough sleeper

A VIOLENT thug punched and kicked a rough sleeper for his views on heroin in a brutal attack before telling police he wanted to ‘purge the homeless’.

Monday, 25th March 2019, 6:57 pm
Updated Monday, 25th March 2019, 7:11 pm
Russell Allen at The Homeless Bus that was based on land adjoining St Agatha's Church in Portsmouth. Picture: Malcolm Wells (180119-3935)

CCTV footage shows how former rough sleeper Russell Allen – who at the time was volunteering at a bus shelter and handing out food to homeless people – punched the victim before another man repeatedly kicked and stamped on his head.

More than a year after the October 2017 attack Allen was last week jailed for seven years and six months at Portsmouth Crown Court.

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Russell Allen at The Homeless Bus that was based on land adjoining St Agatha's Church in Portsmouth. Picture: Malcolm Wells (180119-3935)

But the 31-year-old refused to watch the CCTV footage and told the court: ‘It’s actually scarred[correct] me as well.’

Probation ruled Allen poses a high risk of harm to members of the public and female intimate partners.

Prosecutor Simon Foster revealed Allen was previously jailed for 14 months in 2015 after dragging an ex-partner 250ft from his caravan across farmland punching her head and body leaving her battered and with bruises across her body.

Reading a letter over a video link former alcoholic Allen, a Muslim convert, said he had been ‘trying to engage with religious instruction’. He added: ‘Not only did I break the law of the land but I broke the law of my god.’

Russell Allen. Picture: Hampshire police

He said: ‘I have had to accept all of this is my fault. It was me who put the drink to my lips. I live in regret of my actions. I’m just a humble guy.’

Footage played in court showed how Allen punched the victim at around 4am in the alleyway between Alec Rose Lane and Winston Churchill Avenue on October 15.

The victim suffered a suspected rib fracture, bruised right eye, a fractured eye socket, and swelling to his jaw.

Sam Barker, for the defendant, said: ‘It seems that a member of the Portsmouth homeless community had died of a heroin overdose days beforehand and [the victim] had made comments, not disparaging that man, but heroin... that appears to have been the background to it.’

As reported, a second attacker was jailed for six years for repeatedly kicking and stamping on the victim’s head. A third man was jailed for punching a good Samaritan who tried to intervene. They were jailed last year.

Allen, who has 18 convictions for 31 offences, went on the run between court hearings.

Sentencing, Recorder Barry McElduff said: ‘You approached the victim in this case in an alleyway very close to this court room.

'It would seem he was known to you as you were both members of the homeless community and you had some extremely trifling grievance towards him about his views on heroin.

‘[You] approached him from behind and punched him, he fell to the ground and was rendered unconscious by the fall or punch as you, and others, continued to attack him.

‘You struck him multiple punches to his face and kicked him to the face on at least one further occasion.’

He added: ‘When you were arrested you said words to the effect of when you’re released you would purge the homeless people.’

Allen admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent.