Halifax dad feared trio were going to kill him during attack

Jailed: From left Stephen Mason, Lee Connors and Joshua Hoy
Jailed: From left Stephen Mason, Lee Connors and Joshua Hoy
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Three men have been jailed this morning (Wednesday) for a joint attack on a Halifax father in his own home.

The trio turned up at 40-year-old Gareth Ballard’s home shortly after midnight and started knocking on his door and windows.

Prosecutor James Weekes told Bradford Crown Court that when Mr Ballard opened the door the men and fourth male walked straight into the living room without a word.

One of the group Joshua Hoy told the complainant he had “disrespected” his family and began punching him to the face.

Mr Weekes said Mr Ballard fled upstairs to the bathroom, but he was pursued by Hoy and his accomplices Stephen Mason and Lee Connors and attacked again.

Mr Weekes said Mason and Connors joined in the punching and kicking and Mr Ballard later told police: “I was terrified. I thought they would kill me.”

The attack in February only ended when the fourth man said that’s enough and Mr Ballard was later admitted to hospital for treatment to his injuries.

Mr Weekes said following the attack Mr Ballard was left with a shoe-print on his back.

Mason, 33, of Coronation Street, Greetland, handed himself in to the police the next day and was bailed pending further inquiries, but three weeks later he was approached at a bus stop by Mr Ballard and assaulted him again.

A woman described seeing Mason on top of the complainant in the middle of the road punching him five or six times.

She telephoned the police and Mr Ballard was again taken to hospital.

Mason, who admitted two charges of assault, was today jailed for a total of two years and six months for his part in the attacks on Mr Ballard.

Hoy, 22, of Columbus Street, Halifax, and Connors, 31, of Edward Street, Sowerby Bridge, also admitted assaulting Mr Ballard in February and they were each jailed for two years.

The court heard that Hoy and Connors had committed the offence while they were still on licence from previous custodial sentences.

Jailing the men Judge David Hatton QC said the initial assault was aggravated by the fact that Mr Ballard was attacked in his own home.

“You visited him in order to speak to him about some perceived difficulty with the partner of Stephen Mason,” said Judge Hatton.

“If violence was not the prime purpose it was certainly anticipated, in my judgement, as a reasonable possibility and so there was some planning also.”

The judge said it was a serious offence of assault and it had been a joint attack.