A man who was caught on CCTV taking a running jump into a tent with two homeless men inside has been jailed by a judge who told him: “What you did is repugnant to right-minded people.”
The footage played at Hull Crown Court showed Jamie Nickell, 26, land feet first on the tent in a shop doorway on Whitefriargate in the city centre as his friend Jake Mann filmed him on a phone.
A judge was told that one of the defendants was heard to shout: “You dirty, scumbag, trampy bastards.”
Nickell, from Lincoln, admitted assault causing actual bodily harm to one of the men in the tent – Steven Cadman, who suffered a minor injury to his knee.
Sentencing Nickell to four months in prison, Judge Mark Bury said: “What you did is repugnant to right-minded people.
“There are too many homeless people in our society these days.
“They do not need to be treated in this way.
“The way you treated them is such that only an immediate sentence of imprisonment is justified.”
Judge Bury said he accepted that Nickell was ashamed of what he did, noting that the defendant could not bring himself to look at the footage when it was played in court.
But he said: “Homelessness is not a lifestyle choice, it is a necessity, unhappily, for some members of our society. It is corrosive of their well-being and their state of mind.
“They ought to be treated with a degree of understanding and sympathy.”
Julia Baggs, defending, said: “Mr Nickell is utterly disgusted and appalled by his behaviour.”
She said: “His behaviour was mean, it was thoughtless. He is thoroughly ashamed and embarrassed about what he did.
“Mercifully there were no significant injuries caused.”
Ms Baggs said her client is a valued worker for a construction and landscaping firm and supports two very young daughters, who live with their mother.
He has one previous conviction for pushing a doorman, she said.
Earlier this week, the same judge jailed Mann, 29, also from Lincoln, for 14 weeks for his part in the attack, which happened on November 30 last year.
The judge heard how the pair were drunk after travelling to Hull to go to a concert.
Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said: “This shocking attack was rightly condemned as a despicable act of violence on some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
“Today’s verdict shows that the police and the courts will not hesitate to hold the perpetrators of such crimes to justice.”
Inspector Julian Hart, from Humberside Police, said: “We do not put up with this type of antisocial and violent behaviour in Hull.”
Mr Hart said: “This was a reckless and thoughtless act that took place after the pair had been drinking which could have resulted in much more serious injuries.
“I’m very glad it didn’t and fortunately the two men in the tent were not seriously hurt.
“We all want our city to be a safe and good place to live, and we’re continuing our work to make sure that is the case.
“This wasn’t a joke. This wasn’t a bit of fun. This was a serious assault that has resulted in two men being sent to prison.”