Kettering GBH left victim with life-changing injuries

A Kettering man's life will never be the same after he was attacked by a teenager in a McDonald's car park.

Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 6:00 am
George Lankston has been jailed.

Baby-faced George Lankston twice punched his victim, leaving him with life-changing injuries, and spat at him as he lay on the ground.

He sobbed as he begged for forgiveness before being jailed for 18 months - although he will be released from prison in a matter of weeks because of time already served.

Yesterday (Monday) Northampton Crown Court heard the victim arrived at the fast food branch in Orion Way at about 7pm on May 24 having picked up a friend from Kettering General Hospital. With his friend's foot in plaster he went inside to order food.

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Lankston, 19, arrived as part of a group of three men and two women. He began pushing the bonnet of the victim's car up and down before heading inside where he behaved in an "antagonistic and aggressive" manner, prosecutor Stephen Ferson said.

The victim went back into the McDonald's to ask what they had done to his vehicle before returning to his car. Lankston and his gang followed, with the duty manager of the branch just seconds behind because they had a feeling something was going to happen.

It was then, in an incident filmed on a mobile phone by a bystander, that the teenager landed himself a spell behind bars with the unprovoked attack. He started shouting expletives and the victim got out of his car.

Mr Ferson said: "His [the victim's] last real memory is of George Lankston removing his jacket and bouncing around on his feet as if he was about to fight."

Lankston was then heard to say: "I'm not running, I'm getting ready to kill you."

The video showed the victim saying: "There's no need for this."

Lankston, of John Lea Way in Wellingborough, threw a punch hitting his victim in the jaw and knocking him over.

He then said: That's just my left, waiting until you get my right."

As the victim got up he was punched again, causing him to fall and leaving him with a broken and dislocated ankle. Lankston then spat at him before running off.

The victim, who sat in the public gallery to hear of his attacker's fate, was transferred to University Hospital Coventry because of the severity of his injuries and had to have a metal plate and rod inserted. He also lost a total of seven teeth.

He suffered serious complications and infections and twice had to have the metal plate removed in operations lasting more than 10 hours, leaving him in hospital for weeks.

Mr Ferson said: "The third operation was essentially a limb-saving operation. If it was not a success he could have had the trauma of having it amputated."

Thankfully, the operation appears to have been a success - but the court heard the toll the injuries had taken.

He is still unable to put his full weight on his left foot, unable to drive and has to use a walking stick. He is resigned to never regaining full strength in his ankle, he cannot walk more than 100 yards without having to turn around and is unable to socialise like he used to. He had to have a skin graft and has been unable to work. Because he is self-employed he estimates the attack has cost him at least £10,000, leaving his family struggling financially.

In a victim statement, he said: "I used to see myself as quite an outgoing person.

"Now I am very withdrawn. Since the assault I have barely left my house."

He is still awaiting dental work costing up to £1,000 and said he is anxious and self-conscious.

Lankston was spotted on CCTV by an officer who had previously spoken to him before the victim and his friend picked him out of an identity parade.

He originally gave no comment answers before admitting causing grievous bodily harm.

Appearing over a videolink from prison in a black polo shirt, a teary Lankston read a letter directly to his victim.

He said: "I am so sorry for my actions. Since the offence I have had time to reflect on my actions and I know that I am totally in the wrong.

"I hope you can find space in your heart to forgive me."

Mitigating, Claire Fraser said that Lankston didn't intend for these injuries to happen and that he had completed courses in carpentry, English and maths whilst in custody so he could better himself when he is released from prison.

Judge Rebecca Crane told him he will serve half of his 18-month sentence in custody with the remainder on licence.

He has been on remand since May, the equivalent of a 15-month sentence, meaning he is likely to be released in a matter of weeks.