Baseball bat attack gang locked up

A LANDLORD who hired a thug to teach a friend “a lesson”, resulting in an attack that left him blind in one eye and scarred for life, has been jailed for seven years.

Alan Lumley, 56, felt Michael Brown, 53, had “cheated” on him after a deal to buy the lease for his financially troubled Yorkway Motel in Pocklington, East Yorkshire, fell through.

Although Mr Brown had done no wrong, Lumley paid his 21-year-old barman Sean Craib £600 to break Mr Brown’s arms or legs.

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But Craib went further and after luring Mr Brown outside to the motel’s car park, hit him in the face with a baseball bat, leaving him with fractures to his jaw, cheek bones and eye sockets, before fleeing with the help of getaway driver Robert Elliott, 20.

The violence of the attack literally pushed Mr Brown’s nose an inch back into his skull and also fractured his forehead and the back of his skull. Mr Brown underwent 15 hours of surgery at Hull Royal Infirmary but was later told he had permanently lost the sight in his right eye.

After Lumley was jailed for seven years and Craib for eight years at Hull Crown Court and Elliott was given two years in a young offender institution, Mr Brown, who faces more surgery later this month, said: “The sentence that has been passed gives me no pleasure whatsoever, just immense disappointment in a man I used to call a friend.

“I hope all three individuals realise the stress their actions have caused to so many individuals.”

Sentencing, Judge Jeremy Baker QC said: “This was not a random attack, it was premeditated and planned. You, Lumley, were the instigator and you had a grudge against Mr Brown because you believed he had caused you some financial loss.

“Yet from the documents I have seen that doesn’t appear to be the case. You sought to teach him a lesson. You weren’t prepared to do it yourself and in order to carry out the dirty work recruited Craib, who agreed to act essentially as a hired thug.

“He used the baseball bat he had bought specifically for the purpose to inflict horrific injuries to the head of the victim with a single blow.”

Prosecuting, Oliver Thorne said Lumley and his wife took over the motel in 2006. A year later he hired Julia Greenwood as housekeeper and subsequently met her partner Mr Brown, and they became good friends.

In 2009 he offered the couple the chance to buy the lease of the motel – which was struggling financially – for between £50,000 and £60,000.

However the couple eventually rejected the offer due to the business’s cashflow problems but agreed to continue managing it.

Meanwhile Lumley took over the Laceby Arms in Laceby, near Grimsby, and fumed over his perceived injustice. He offered to pay his barman Craib, who had a previous conviction for assault, £600 to “do him over” and he agreed.

He then ordered Craib to hire “somebody stupid enough” to use their own car and act as a getaway driver and Craib recruited jobless Elliott, whom he paid £120 plus petrol.

On July 8 last year, Craib drove from his home in Grimsby to Elliott’s house in South Killingholme, Lincolnshire and the pair then headed to the motel in Elliott’s distinctive red Vauxhall Corsa with a black bonnet.

They lured Mr Brown into the motel car park by telling him they had run into his car and as he knelt down to inspect the fictitious damage, Craib dealt him a single blow to the head with the baseball bat.

Craib later said that when Lumley heard of the attack he seemed “content and pleased”.

Police were initially baffled by the apparently motiveless attack, but following an appeal were able to track down the car to Elliott and he was arrested.

Mr Brown said contrary to what had been said in court it was Lumley who broke the initial deal, which was that he and Julia would run the motel for a trial six-month period.

He said: “The initial deal was that I would pay him a few thousand upfront, then on a monthly basis till the deal was repaid.

“About three weeks before they came back to run the place he said that was no longer any good and he needed the full or majority of the asking price upfront, so I said he would have to come and take the motel back on, and that is what he did.

“He was obviously upset that I couldn’t raise the money but I never let him believe that I would do anything but try and raise the money.”

Mr Brown said he refused to have his life turned upside down, and thanked police, Victim Support and members of the public for their “overwhelming” support.

He said: “It has been fantastic when people I have never met before call in to see me; it puts your faith back in human nature.”

Defending Lumley, Mark McKone said he was “truly shocked” when he learnt of the full extent of the injuries Craib had inflicted.

For Craib, Joseph Spencer said he was “not thinking straight” at the time and had tried to commit suicide just days before.

Lumley and Craib admitted conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm with intent at an earlier hearing.

Elliott was acquitted of this charge after a trial earlier this year when a jury decided he was unaware of the extent of the violence Craib was planning.

He admitted a charge of causing grievous bodily harm before his trial.