9:15am Friday 10th January 2014
A GWENT man has begun a six-year prison sentence after meting out “appalling violence” that left his victim with a fractured skull and jaw, and requiring 80 stitches to head wounds.
Martin Vaughan, 30, broke down Jocelyn Jones’ door and repeatedly beat him in the head and face with a stick or bat during the attack in Blaenavon on October 4, 2012.
Vaughan, of Cherry Trees, Markham, who pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent, had been dating Jones’ estranged wife.
His friend Charles Coia, 27, of Burtons Place, Llantarnam, who was last month cleared of GBH but convicted of assisting an offender received a prison sentence of 12 months, suspended for two years.
At Newport crown court, Judge Philip Richards was told Vaughan pleaded guilty last March, having handed himself in the previous December.
Sentencing had been delayed until after Coia’s trial.
Andrew Taylor, mitigating for Vaughan, said it was “almost bordering on the tragic” that a man of 30 with no previous convictions should be before the court, and that his offence was “an aberration against a trend of good, in many ways exemplary, conduct.”
The reasons for Vaughan’s savage attack were not detailed in court, but Mr Taylor said he had “decided to take the law into his own hands.”
“He was not thinking straight. His judgement was clouded by what was going on around him,” said Mr Taylor.
“Martin Vaughan called what he had done ‘unforgivable’ and is deeply apologetic.”
Mr Taylor said that since pleading guilty, and facing an inevitable prison sentence, Vaughan had involved himself in fundraising, landscaping and environmental activities with young people in his area.
Judge Richards acknowledged that numerous testimonial letters painted a very different picture of Vaughan than the circumstances of the case.
But he told him: “The appalling violence meted out to Mr Jones was wholly unacceptable and caused him a great deal of physical pain.
“His jaw was fractured. He had a fractured skull and needed plates inserting in his face.
“He had a deep wound in his forehead. Such was the ferocity of your attack that he needed 80 stitches. He also had a broken hand.”
Vaughan must also pay a £120 victim surcharge.
Friend helped man’s attacker evade justice
CHARLES Coia was last month found guilty of assisting an offender – a charge he had denied.
At his trial, Coia maintained he did not know that Vaughan, a friend of 15 years’ standing and who was staying at his house at the time of the attack on Mr Jones, had taken his car in order to carry it out.
He also said he did not know of the attack at the time, as he had been asleep when Vaughan returned.
Although he had been in touch with Vaughan during the two months the latter was wanted by police, Coia insisted he had not helped him but had repeatedly urged Vaughan to hand himself in. Among texts sent between the two was one in which Coia offered to put fuel in Vaughan’s car, while others discussed buying cars and insurance.
Defence counsel Hilary Roberts said Coia, of previous good character, was concerned “maybe with providing succour while Vaughan steeled himself to give himself up”.
He called Coia “a worthy and productive member of society” with an ethic of hard work.
Judge Richards said Vaughan and Coia had behaved “extremely foolishly and criminally”. He told Coia his role was limited to offering “the prospect of assistance with transport and support over the period after you found out what he had done” – but though motivated by longstanding friendship, he had been found guilty of a very serious offence.
Coia was also ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid community work, and to pay a £100 victim surcharge and £300 costs.
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