Man repeatedly punched sleeping step-father in violent attack

Ipswich Crown Court heard Jamie Byrne attacked his step-dad by punching him up to 20 times while he

Ipswich Crown Court heard Jamie Byrne attacked his step-dad by punching him up to 20 times while he slept Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk man who punched his step-father up to 20 times while he was asleep for no apparent reason has been given a suspended sentence.

Ernest Apicellar, who was married to 20-year-old Jamie Byrne’s mother, woke up in his conservatory during the attack and immediately felt pain and found that his eyesight was blurred, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

He could feel blows to his head and Byrne later admitted punching him 10 to 20 times to the head, said Nicholas Bleaney, prosecuting.

Byrne, of Burberry Court, Littleport, Ely, admitted assaulting Mr Apicellar, a taxi driver, causing him actual bodily harm and criminal damage to his taxi in November last year.

He was given eight months detention in a young offenders’ institution suspended for two years and ordered to do 200 hours’ unpaid work.

He was also given a 40-day rehabilitation activity requirement, ordered to pay £600 compensation and £350 costs and was banned from going to Mr Apicellar’s home in Covey Way, Lakenheath for two years.

Judge Rupert Overbury described the attack as “nasty”.

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“Only you can explain why you reacted in such a violent way. You have no previous convictions for behaving in this sort of way but you do accept you have issues in controlling your emotions and that causes you to act impulsively sometimes,” said the judge.

Mr Bleaney said Mr Apicellar had been married to Byrne’s mother for four years.

Byrne had been at a”low ebb” after splitting up with his partner and on the evening of the attack he had gone out for a drink at a pub in Lakenheath with his mother, Mr Apicellar and other family members. After returning to his mother and Mr Aicellar’s home Byrne and Mr Apicellar had been smoking and chatting in the conservatory.

At some stage Mr Apicellar had fallen asleep and woke up to find he was being attacked.

As a result of the incident he suffered cuts to his head and eye.

He later discovered that the windscreen and bonnet of his taxi had been damaged, said Mr Bleaney.

Lynne Shirley for Byrne said her client had no previous convictions and was keen to apologise to Mr Apicellar.

However, she said he had stayed away from him since the attack because of his bail conditions.

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