A POMPEY fan says justice has finally been done after two hooligans who beat him unconscious and then walked free were locked up by the Court of Appeal.
Birmingham City fans Philip Bancroft, 32, and Adam Daly, 21, were let off with suspended sentences at Portsmouth Crown Court after they attacked Tim Hanks.
But today they are starting three-and-half-year sentences after the government’s top law officer, the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve QC, argued their sentences were ‘unduly lenient’.
In what was described as a vile, vicious and pack-like attack, the two men punched and kicked Mr Hanks after he tried to break up a fight following an FA Cup clash.
Despite both admitting wounding with intent, Daly, of Bell Lane, Tile Cross, Birmingham, and Bancroft, of Woodhurst Close, Tamworth, were given 12-month suspended sentences in April.
At the time, The News reported the sentence.
In our Comment column we said: ‘These two men deserved to go to prison and remain there for a long tim... we accept judges have to operate within guidelines but they deserved to lose their liberty.’
Speaking yesterday, Mr Hanks, 54, said: ‘Justice has been done and that’s excellent.
‘I feel relieved. I’m glad the Court of Appeal realised the initial sentence was far too lenient and they have got what they deserve.’
Mr Hanks suffered severe cuts to his head, and bruises all over his body, as he was punched and kicked to the ground outside the Etap Hotel, in Fratton Way, Fratton on March 6 last year.
Sixteen people were later arrested but only Bancroft and Daly could be identified from CCTV.
After hearing the case, three senior judges ruled the suspended sentences were too soft, and replaced them with jail terms.
The dad-of-two said: ‘It was a pack mentality. They had the chance to walk away and Bancroft turned round and kicked me full in the face when I was on my hands and knees.
‘My short-term memory is not what it was. I still get confused and forget things and I certainly wasn’t like that before.
‘I’m not vindictive, I don’t want them to rot in hell but I do hope they reflect on their actions and have the decency not to do it again.’
Mr Hanks paid tribute to Det Con Rachael Hannam, who was awarded a Commander’s Certificate of Congratulations and a Bronze Citizen Focus Pin for her work on the case.
‘Without her doggedness and determination we wouldn’t be where we are today,’ he said.
‘This vindicates her fantastic work.’
Det Con Hannam said: ‘Bancroft and Daly’s assault upon Mr Hanks was totally unprovoked.
‘It was vicious and barbaric, a disgusting display of an unacceptable mindless attitude towards other people.’
Sentencing the pair, Lady Justice Hallett said: ‘Breaking a bottle and thrusting it in someone’s face may be different from kicking someone in the head with a shod foot, but does not make it any less potentially fatal.
‘This attack could have killed Mr Hanks. The offenders left him lying in the street as they made good their escape.
‘They showed no mercy to their victim and they could have expected little mercy from the court.’
The two men were also both banned from attending football matches for six years.