Harry Bennett jailed for unprovoked assault in Hastings town centre

A man has been jailed for a violent, unprovoked assault in Hastings town centre.

Harry Bennett was outside Priory Meadow Shopping Centre around 10.15pm on June 1st, last year when he approached the 70-year-old victim.

After a brief discussion the victim tried to walk away but Bennett punched him, causing him to fall to the ground.

As the victim lay unconscious, Bennett continued to punch him nine times and kick him in the head before leaving the scene.

Harry Bennett.

The assault had been captured on CCTV and as officers attended and carried out an area search, they were able to identify Bennett as wearing clothing matching that of the person on the footage.

He was arrested in York Gardens and taken into custody. In interview, he admitted being drunk at the time of the assault and said he had taken drugs that day.

He claimed the victim had matched a description of a person who had been involved in an altercation with friends on the seafront earlier that day. He was told that was not possible, as the victim had only returned to the town via train minutes before the assault took place.

Bennett, 20, unemployed, of Quebec Road, St Leonards, was charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent. At Lewes Crown Court on Friday (May 7th), he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years and four months’ imprisonment.

Investigating officer Gavin Collins, of Hastings CID, said: “The victim in this case had been doing nothing more than walking home when he was attacked by Bennett. As well as the physical injuries he suffered, including a nasty cut to the head, a broken rib, extensive bruising and a minor brain injury, the assault has had a serious and lasting emotional impact on him.

“Bennett showed absolutely no concern for his victim, continuing to assault him even as he was lying unresponsive on the ground.

“Thanks to a swift response by officers and CCTV footage of the assault, we were able to quickly apprehend Bennett and start building a strong case against him.

“This resulted in a guilty plea in court and we were pleased to see the judge hand Bennett a custodial sentence for his deplorable actions that day.”

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