TWO men who were part of a mob that attacked a paedophile in the street have been warned they face lengthy jail sentences.
John Sargeant and Stuart Hunt went looking for Joshua Pryor with at least four others after hearing he had abused young girls.
The vigilante gang punched, kicked and hit the 20-year-old with a pool cue in the middle of Bramshott Road, in Southsea, as shocked residents looked on.
Pryor, of Coburg Street, Landport, has since been convicted of sexual offences involving young girls.
The News could not reveal details of his conviction until now because of a court order banning reporting until after the trial of the two men.
The sexual offences only came to light after the police were called for the assault on Pryor, who was 19 at the time.
Sargeant, of Reginald Road, Southsea, admitted assault causing actual bodily harm.
Hunt, of Montgomery Road, Southsea, was found guilty of the same charge by the jury after more than five hours of deliberations.
Both men were cleared of attempted kidnap after Pryor claimed they had tried to bundle him into the boot of a car.
Judge Ian Pearson told them they may face a prison sentence longer than the 51 weeks set out in the legal guidelines.
‘It’s perfectly permissible for a judge to go outside of the guidelines if the judge takes the view that the gravity of the offence diverts from the guideline,’ he said.
‘The case involved the assault of a 19-year-old man who both defendants suspected of having sexual relations with one or more teenage girls. The trial of that 19-year-old has taken place and he has been convicted.
‘A pool cue at the very least was used. There was a high degree, in my view, of premeditation and these two defendants were leading the group or gang that took part in the assault of the 19-year-old.’
At the time of the attack, on the evening of March 7, Pryor had not been arrested but Sargeant, 46, and Hunt, 47, had heard rumours about him.
Giving evidence Pryor told the jury he got an anonymous call on his mobile from a man threatening to ‘kick his head in’ shortly before the attack.
‘The next thing I know I’m having things whacked behind my head,’ he said.
‘I went down and then I just felt people hitting my face, stamped on my head.’
Pryor ran to the Subway sandwich shop in Fratton Way where staff called the police.
He was left with bruises to his face and arm and a swollen right hand.
No one else has been charged in relation to the attack.
Sargeant and Hunt have been remanded in custody to be sentenced in October.
Paedophile faces jail for sex offences
THE victim of the assault is awaiting sentence for a string of sexual offences involving young girls.
Joshua Pryor was found guilty by a jury at Portsmouth Crown Court of three counts of rape and four of sexual activity with a child following the offences involving four girls.
All four victims were under 16 and the crimes were committed between August 2010 and March 2012.
Prosecutor Tony Bailey said Pryor plied his victims with alcohol and pressured them into having sex.
He said: ‘These were and are vulnerable children.
‘Alcohol was supplied by older members of the group, including by the defendant, who was at the time 19.
‘These young girls would drink to excess and they would become vulnerable and they would engage in sexual acts with the defendant.’
Mr Bailey said Pryor ‘would not take no for an answer’.
One of his victims told police that before she was raped by Pryor she had ‘never kissed a boy before’.
Pryor told her: ‘If you tell someone what we have done then I will hurt you’.
He has been remanded in custody to be sentenced in October.