Man spared jail for racist attack on innocent passer-by outside bar
- Credit: Archant
A 21-year-old man has avoided going straight to prison for a racially aggravated unprovoked attack on an innocent passer-by.
William Bone spent the weekend waiting to learn his fate in jail after a judge adjourned sentencing and remanded him in custody on Friday afternoon.
On Monday morning, Judge Martyn Levett told Ipswich Crown Court he had considered whether or not to suspend imprisonment for what he called a random attack, motivated by skin colour.
Bone initially admitted causing actual bodily harm, but denied the assault was racially aggravated.
He later changed plea and admitted the attack in Bury St Edmunds on February 7 was racially aggravated.
It took place at 8pm outside Edmundo Lounge, where Bone stood with two others as a man walked past with his hands in his pockets.
CCTV showed a brief exchange of words before two of the group launched chairs at the passer-by, who was then punched, knocked to the ground and stamped on.
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Bone, of Mill Lane, Thurston, was identified and arrested, but declined to name his associates and denied using racially abusive language, claiming the victim had goaded the group and grabbed his waistband in a gesture suggesting he was carrying a knife.
Joanne Eley, mitigating, said Bone was drunk, may have taken drugs, and was made anxious by the victim’s manner of walking with his hands in his pockets.
She said Bone’s anxiety was the result of trauma from witnessing a violent incident last November, adding: “Whether right or wrong, in his mind, there was possible danger. He was suspicious of the way he presented himself and feared attack.”
The court heard that Bone had been convicted of racially aggravated harassment after being asked to leave a pub in 2017.
Judge Levett described February’s incident as completely unprovoked, adding: “To suggest you thought he had a knife was absurd. I’ve come to the conclusion it was a pathetic excuse that you made up.
“This was an ugly, late night episode all of your making. I’m not satisfied your responsibility was in any way impaired.
“You chose, for a second time, to target a man with black skin.”
Bone was handed 24 months’ custody, suspended for two years, with 200 hours of unpaid work, 40 days of rehabilitation and a seven-month overnight curfew.