A GANG of thugs have been jailed for a "vicious and cowardly assault" on a musician who had politely asked them to quieten down.
Roger Yapp was trying to protect his wife and family from the group of teenagers but, a court was told, he became the victim of a sustained and unprovoked assault after speaking to them outside his home.
One of the gang jumped up and down on Mr Yapp's leg until it snapped, while his wife thought her husband was being killed – as did one of the group.
A judge was told the prime mover, Adam Taylor, had downed two bottles of wine, 10 cans of strong lager and three cans of cider before he launched the violent assault at 2.30am in September 2008 outside the Yapps' house.
Recorder John Williams yesterday described it as a "sustained, vicious and cowardly assault" which was "pitiless and unprovoked".
The 52-year-old tried to protect his hands and fingers from the brutal kicking and punching by the four, who were aged 15 to 17 at the time. But he was left with a shattered kneecap, badly broken leg, fractured nose and collarbone as he was repeatedly stamped on while his teacher wife Jane and two children looked on in horror.
Mr Yapp spent two weeks in hospital, now walks with a limp and will need future surgery.
Exeter Crown Court yesterday heard the judge described Mr Yapp as a "civilised and decent man" who was the victim of a horrific assault after the four youths had been to an 18th birthday party at a farm near Pelynt in South East Cornwall.
Taylor, of Polperro, Cornwall, and two youths who cannot be named, all admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
Taylor was detained for four-and-a-half years, a now 16-year-old youth was given three years and the now 17-year-old, 39 months. The fourth defendant, Daniel Phillips, then 17, went to trial and was cleared of causing grievous bodily harm with intent but guilty of the lesser charge if unlawfully and maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm.
Phillips, now 18, of Polperro, Cornwall, was jailed for 18 months.
Prosecutor Llewellyn Sellick told the court the Yapps' two daughters were "plainly terrified for their father's life" as he was ambushed by the gang and suffered injuries described as "grave".
The judge called it a "pitiless, sustained attack by four on to one, so cowardly too".