…By Alan Peterson for TDPel Media.
In the village of Croeserw in June 2021, a man walking home from a shop experienced a brutal assault that left him with a fractured eye socket.
The attacker, identified as Ryan Thomas, emerged shirtless from behind a wooden fence in an alley known as “the gully” and repeatedly punched the victim, Randall Whitlock, in the face before fleeing the scene.
The prosecution revealed that there was a history of animosity between the two individuals.
Mr. Whitlock sought medical attention and was diagnosed with a bruised and swollen face, a bloodshot eye, and a fractured eye socket.
Repeat Offender’s Troubling Past and Imprisonment
Ryan Lee Thomas, residing in Croeserw, Cymmer, Port Talbot, pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm during the assault.
The court learned that Thomas had an extensive criminal record, with 15 previous convictions for 20 offenses, including assault, affray, burglary, and possession of drugs.
In April 2022, he was sentenced to 27 months in prison for robbery, where he violently reacted when a 73-year-old man denied him a can of lager.
Additionally, Thomas received an extended six-year sentence in April of the previous year for a dangerous attack on another individual, involving a pickaxe handle.
The victim suffered a fractured skull, bleeding on the brain, multiple head gashes, and extensive scalp injuries requiring 52 staples.
Progress and Future Aspirations in Prison
Robin Rouch, Thomas’s defense counsel, highlighted his client’s progress and positive development during his current prison sentence.
Thomas now holds a trusted job in the staff dining room and has even obtained a qualification in industrial cleaning.
He expressed aspirations to establish his own cleaning business once he is released from custody.
However, Thomas will not be eligible to apply for release until August 2025, and it will be up to the Parole Board to determine his suitability for release.
Sentencing and Judge’s Remarks
Judge Paul Thomas KC acknowledged the existence of deep-seated animosity between Thomas and Mr. Whitlock.
The judge noted that Thomas had fractured his victim’s eye socket with considerable force in June 2021, prior to the robbery on the pensioner and the pickaxe handle attack for which Thomas had already been sentenced.
The judge expressed his dissatisfaction with the delay in bringing the case to court, deeming it entirely unacceptable.
Due to legal constraints preventing consecutive determinate sentences, the judge’s options for sentencing were limited.
With a one-quarter discount for his guilty plea, Thomas received a six-month prison sentence, commencing immediately.
Additionally, a restraining order was imposed, prohibiting Thomas from contacting Mr. Whitlock for the next five years.
Hope for Rehabilitation and Future Progress
Judge Thomas acknowledged the positive efforts made by Thomas to change his life while in prison.
He expressed his wish for Thomas’s continued progress for the sake of his own well-being and the well-being of those who care about him.
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