A 21-year-old from Tavistock has been jailed for his role in a vicious assault in which he kicked the victim’s head ‘like a football’.

Connor Buckley was part of a group which attacked an innocent man ‘like a pack of savage dogs’ in the town centre on the night of June 29, 2018.

Buckley, of West Street, admitted a charge of assault occasioning grievous bodily harm and was sentenced to nine months in prison at Plymouth Crown Court on Friday, October 23.

Joe Liston, aged 24, of Cox Tor Road, Tavistock, was previously found guilty of common assault following a trial at Plymouth Crown Court.

He was sentenced to 13 weeks in prison, suspended for a year, on September 25.

The 23-year-old victim was left with a series of serious facial injuries, including a broken nose, which required hospital and specialist treatment.

The court heard how the victim was walking home along West Street with his girlfriend when a group, including Buckley and Liston, started heckling them and then surrounded the couple.

Liston grabbed the victim and put him in a headlock before he, Buckley and another man started punching and kicking him while he was on the floor in a foetal position.

A witness subsequently saw Buckley run towards the victim, draw back his foot and kick his face ‘like a football’ — causing his head to snap backwards and hit the road.

Buckley was seen to repeatedly stamp on and punch the victim’s head as he lay motionless on the ground.

Sentencing Buckley, Judge William Mousley QC said: ’You joined in the assault of the victim not only by punching him but by also stamping on his face, as a result he was rendered unconscious and was left covered in blood.

’The evidence I have heard in the trial made it quite clear to me that you kicked and stamped upon the victim’s head.

’The level of violence used against this man was serious and you took a leading role in causing his injuries.’

Buckley will also be the subject of a supervision order for a year after his release.

Detective constable Craig Ferguson, senior officer in the case, said: ’This has been a long and detailed investigation which was delayed due to Buckley refusing to identify those involved until a later stage in the case.

’The suspects used an extreme level of violence and were described by the witnesses as attacking the victim like a pack of savage dogs.

’One of the witnesses who tried to intervene described how she thought the victim had been killed.

’I am pleased to say that Tavistock remains a very safe and pleasant town in which to live.

’Incidents such as this are very rare in our town and it speaks volumes of the local community that they involved themselves in what must have been a very frightening incident to witness.

’I wish to take this opportunity to acknowledge the witnesses in this case who came forward to provide their evidence to the police and the court.

’They showed great resilience throughout this lengthy investigation and I wish to thank them personally.’

He added: ’The victim and his partner have shown great courage and fortitude throughout.

’I hope today’s sentence will help them find some closure so they can begin to move on with their lives.

’Violence will not be tolerated and Devon and Cornwall Police remain committed, where evidence allows, to seeking justice for victims.’