A judge has branded a 21-year-old man a “coward” after he was found guilty of two separate late-night attacks which left each of his victims with a broken jaw.
Kyle Barnitt carried out the attacks on two innocent complainants within the space of about eight weeks last summer and today (Thurs) he was jailed for a total of three years after a jury at Bradford Crown Court convicted him on two charges of inflicting grievous bodily harm.
Machine-tool operator Barnitt, of Rye Lane, punched his first victim Matthew Spencer in the face during an attack in Halifax town centre last July and the jury heard that the blow left him with a jaw broken in two places and requiring metal plates.
The defendant ran off, but he was arrested over that incident a month later and declined to answer questions.
Having been released on bail Barnitt carried out the second attack three weeks later near his home in Pellon.
Again he punched Anthony Long in the face breaking his jaw and during a later confrontation Barnitt also swung a bat at the complainant hitting him in the ribs.
Mr Long was able to identify Barnitt from a Facebook profile and he was arrested again by police.
Recorder of Bradford Judge Roger Thomas QC said Barnitt, who had previous convictions for assault as a youth, came across superficially as a respectable sort of young man, but beneath the surface was a very nasty and violent character.
Barrister Simeon Evans, for Barnitt, said an immediate prison sentence would mean his client would lose his job and have to put any marriage plans on hold, but Judge Thomas said he had committed two very serious offences of violence which were entirely mindless and unprovoked.
The judge said Barnitt had set about constructing an entirely lying and dishonest defence which the jury had seen through.
Judge Thomas said it was staggering to think that Barnitt committed the second offence against the background of his earlier arrest for the first incident.
The judge said Mr Spencer had been struck a very heavy blow which knocked him unconscious and he still had the metal plates in his jaw.
He said Mr Long had also been hit without any provocation, reason or sense.
“Like the coward you really are you ran away on both occasions,” the judge told Barnitt.
The judge said both incidents happened in public places, in the early hours and when Barnitt was in drink.
Barnitt was jailed for 15 months for the attack on Mr Spencer with a further 21 months imposed for the later assault on Mr Long.