Rushden man brutally stamped on victim's head outside bar
He has been jailed for more than five years
A Rushden man threw a flurry of punches before brutally stamping on his former friend's head as he lay unconscious in the street.
Dean Lee, 31, told police officers his victim was lucky others were there or he wouldn't have stopped before claiming he had been the one defending himself.
The victim was left with a fractured skull, had to relearn some basic skills and, on some occasions, felt like life was "not worth living".
Yesterday (Tuesday) Northampton Crown Court heard Lee had loaned his victim - who he previously worked with and had known for more than 20 years - £400 just two weeks before the attack outside Cheers Bar in Queen Street.
But a week later his victim injured himself and was unable to repay him, leading to threatening texts from Lee. On July 28 last year the victim was at Cheers and Lee was there with his mum, who the victim tried to speak to.
There was some pushing and shoving and just after 2am the victim left. A couple of minutes later, Lee left the bar and kicked the victim's car. In an incident caught on CCTV the victim then rugby tackled Lee to the ground.
But Lee got the better of him and punched him, kicked him and stamped on his head, knocking him out cold.
He was restrained and had to be held back when he went back towards his victim a minute later.
Prosecuting, Andrew Howarth said: "The victim remained motionless on the ground throughout the incident."
Shortly after the incident Lee, who has a history of violence, was arrested at his home in Alfred Street where he claimed he had defended himself with reasonable force and threatened to kill the victim for "attacking his mum".
He was then heard to say: "He's lucky, if there was no people there I would not have stopped stamping on his head and you can take that as on record."
As a result of the attack the victim spent five days in hospital with a fractured skull, bruises to his head and cuts and swelling.
The court heard that a few months after the attack he couldn't look down without passing out and that it had affected his memory.
In a second victim statement, taken last week, he said a number of specialist appointments had been cancelled because of Covid-19, that he had to relearn some basic skills and has to use a day-to-day diary to help with his memory.
He said he had lost about £40,000 in earnings and on some occasions felt so down that he felt life was not worth living.
In a statement, he said: "I feel this may be with me for the rest of my life."
Mitigating, Bernard Porter said Lee, who admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent, was not looking for trouble and wanted nothing to do with the victim in Cheers.
He said: "He lost his temper, but had he not been rugby tackled or approached in the club this incident would never have arisen."
He added that he "bitterly regrets" the incident and said: "On reflection he appreciates the stupidity of his actions."
Sentencing, Recorder Hegarty QC told Lee prison was the only option.
He said: "You know you should have walked away from this trouble. But you did not.
"You engaged in violence against a man who was on the ground."
Lee was jailed for five years and seven months. He will serve half in custody and the remainder on licence.
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