Couple jailed for brutally beating up homeless man and slashing his neck alleging he stole a handbag
Wielding a Stanley knife, the duo allegedly cut Brown on the back of his neck after beating him up brutally while his arms and legs were trapped in his sleeping bag
A couple has been jailed after they beat up and slashed a homeless man with a knife while he was sleeping on the street and couldn't defend himself.
Lee Brown was viciously attacked by 32-year-old Lianne Doyle from Withington, Manchester, and her 37-year-old boyfriend Darren Reynolds, from Bury, while he was resting in his sleeping bag near Manchester city center, according to a Daily Mail report.
Wielding a Stanley knife, the duo allegedly cut Brown on the back of his neck after beating him up brutally while his arms and legs were trapped in his sleeping bag. When horrified passers-by intervened, they claimed the homeless man had stolen a handbag from Doyle.
Doyle was subsequently imprisoned for four years and 10 months while her partner received seven years and four months at Manchester Crown Court. According to witnesses, Doyle was heard screaming "F****** Thief! Get my handbag I want my f****** handbag — he has stolen everything."
The shocking assault, which took place in Manchester on November 4, 2018, left Brown with a bloody face and multiple bruises. While the attackers later claimed they beat up the homeless man to retrieve their stolen handbag, the victim has denied any wrongdoing.
Brown, a former chef who hails from Little Hulton in Salford, has been homeless for at least four years, according to the Manchester Evening News. Both Doyle and Reynolds pleaded guilty to wounding Brown with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and Doyle also admitted to possessing an offensive weapon.
According to Prosecutor Marianne Alton, Reynolds had pulled Doyle towards the homeless man before kicking him viciously.
"An elderly couple getting out of the nearby car park came over to see what the commotion was about and saw the female defendant jumping on top of the complainant and trying to pull the sleeping bag back," she said.
"Another eye witness saw a black Stanley knife and saw it being used to slash the back of the complainant's neck. Miss Doyle was shouting ''thief'' and was seen to slam Mr. Brown down on the pavement. She began to walk away and shouted at him: ''Get my handbag I want my f****** handbag.'"
Alton continued, "The witness described being shocked by the incident and believes that if he had not been there, the complainant wouldn't be alive now. Mr. Brown was unable to defend himself because his arms and legs were inside the sleeping bag. He was shouting at them to get off him but he described both of them as being very angry and he didn't understand the comments being leveled against him. The complainant was attacked while he was vulnerable and asleep in a sleeping bag. An immediate and unjustified resort to violence."
Criminal records later showed that Reynolds had a history of violence with over 45 offenses including convictions for violence. His lawyer Max Saffman, defending, said in mitigation, "He perceived Mr. Brown had stolen a handbag from his partner and the initial intention was that they would snatch the bag back."
While Reynolds admitted his partner was carrying a Stanley knife, his lawyer claimed he did not use it.
Meanwhile, defense counsel Rachel Faux, who represented Doyle, said her client had been a victim of abuse and had been taking the so-called "zombie" drug Spice at the time of the attack. According to Faux, the attack was out of character for the mother-of-one, who has never served a prison sentence before.
"She has the support of her family and their support coupled with the low risk of re-offending means there is a good prospect of rehabilitation," she explained. "This was a very unfortunate sequence of events. She is able to lead a positive life."
Nonetheless, Judge Jeremy Lasker deemed the attack as "vicious and totally unprovoked" and said that Doyle and Reynolds had come across their victim by chance.
"It is clear to me that you had decided to return to him for the sole purpose of attack," the judge said. "You and Reynolds then decided to kick him about the head whilst you Doyle jumped on top of the sleeping bag."
He added, "You pulled it back in order to uncover his body, you began to slice him across the back of his neck and all of that was witnessed by a number of pedestrians and workers who shouted at you to stop what you were doing. You continued to kick and stamp on his head and having cut up his neck continued to call him a thief, you remonstrated that he had taken your property."
In conclusion, Judge Lasker said, "Whether he had taken anything of yours, the attack that you carried out that morning against a defenseless man who was asleep was totally outrageous. There is little doubt that this was a sustained, unprovoked attack upon a vulnerable victim. There is nothing that can be said that could justify what happened."