A JEALOUS thug who rained down blows on his supposed love rival said he was appalled and ashamed by what he’d done.

Joshua James, 24, launched the brutal attack on Joseph Beaney in Trowbridge town centre after earlier messaging him on Instagram in a jealous rage – accusing him of "chatting to my baby mum”.

Jailing the 24-year-old for six years and eight months at Swindon Crown Court this morning, Judge Peter Crabtree said: “It is clear that you can be a jealous and controlling individual. You certainly were at that time last year.”

In a letter to the judge, James, who spent five months on remand last year for an unrelated matter of which he was acquitted, said: “I never expected 2020 to have become any worse. I am very disappointed in my actions and myself.”

In February, jurors found James guilty by a majority verdict of causing grievous bodily harm with intent. James, of Green Close, Holt, had already pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of GBH.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

Joshua James' custody shot Picture: WILTSHIRE POLICE

READ MORE: Jail warning for 'arrogant' thug who punched victim so hard he broke his own fingers

During the trial, the jury heard how jealous James messaged Mr Beaney on Instagram on September 26, 2020, accusing him of “chatting” to his former partner. He had seen that his ex, with whom he had a child, had liked a post shared by Mr Beaney on the social media site.

Mr Beaney, who did not know James or his partner, spoke to his accuser and thought he had cleared matters up.

Later that evening they both happened to be in Trowbridge town centre after – separately – enjoying drinks with friends. It was after 10pm and the street was busy with people as the pubs emptied after the pandemic curfew.

James spotted a girl, Amy Connor, with whom he had earlier flirted, behind the wheel of a Mini in Castle Street. When she waved at him he went over to speak to her.

Mr Beaney, who was in the passenger seat, was said to have got out of the car, placed a kebab back on his seat then towered over James.

The defendant feared he was freeing up his hands ready for an attack and threw a pre-emptive haymaker-style punch, the jury heard.

CCTV footage caught James raining down blows on his victim, who made some efforts to grapple at his opponent’s legs. Witnesses suggested it could have been as many as 20 punches.

A witness who gave evidence during the trial claimed to have heard James say “don’t f*** with my baby mum” after the beating. As he walked from his victim he raised his arm in what the judge called a victory gesture.

The assault was so ferocious that James broke his own fingers and only handed himself in to police several days later, after receiving medical assistance. His victim suffered a broken eye socket, which had to be fixed with a plate, as well as other injuries.

In a victim personal statement, Mr Beaney said the plate fixing his broken eye socket meant he was now unable to play rugby.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

Castle Street, where the assault took place Picture: GOOGLE

James said in a letter to the judge, which was read out to the court this morning: “I am appalled by the injuries to Mr Beaney and I am ashamed knowing how this has made his family feel.”

He added: “I really want help with my anger management, which I believe may be triggered by consuming alcohol. I will become a better person for myself and my family.”

His barrister, Lucy Tapper, said her client – who was released from custody just eight days before the assault – now realised that it had been too early for him to go out with friends.

James suffered from depression and had struggled while in custody. He was an educated man and had studied for a foundation degree in sports science at Stafford University before working as a labourer and in bar jobs. He had lost his job just before the first lockdown.

He was a father-of-one.

Judge Crabtree told James that “coincidence stacked against” his victim on the day of the assault.

He said he rejected the defendant’s assertions during the trial that Mr Beaney had made aggressive comments to him as he got out of the car.

“Whatever Mr Beaney may have said I am sure your resort to violence was motivated by that anger [James’ belief he had contacted his ex-partner],” he told James.

“You were well ready to have a confrontation with him.

“You threw a haymaker causing Mr Beaney to go to the floor.

“He plainly, if only for a short time, was unconscious then simply unable to defend himself as you rained down punches on him in a ferocious and cowardly attack that can only have been intended to cause [grievous bodily harm] and did so.”

As he noted the mitigation in James’ favour, Judge Crabtree said he had factored in the difficult conditions in prison during the pandemic when reaching his sentence.

James will serve half of his sentence of six years and eight months before he is eligible for release.  

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