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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

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Four sentenced for violent attack on Carlisle club boss Tim Ip

A Carlisle nightclub boss was set upon in a vicious brawl after trouble flared in the early hours of the morning.

Carlisle Crown Court heard how members of the O’Neil family had been out after attending a family funeral when trouble erupted between the O’Neils and Tim Ip and two of his friends over “something and nothing”.

CCTV cameras captured the disturbing scenes on Carlisle’s streets which led to Mr Ip being knocked unconscious and later falling into a coma.

A crowd of people can be seen in the footage at the entrance to the Lowther Arcade in Carlisle where the trouble broke out in the early hours of June 7 last year before spilling out onto Lowther Street.

Some are seen wildly throwing punches and kicks, with others pushing and shoving in the violent melee.

Mr Ip, the former manager of Club Concrete in Carlisle, was headbutted and punched several times in the head.

He suffered a brain haemorrhage and later fell into a coma but is now on the road to recovery.

Judge Batty described it as a “scene of extreme violence right in the heart of the city”.

Joshua O’Neil, 23, from Peterborough, was jailed for two years at the city’s crown court after he punched Mr Ip several times in the head.

Ricky O’Neil, 27, from Southampton, was given 27 months in prison after Judge Paul Batty QC told him he was “deeply and heavily involved in the violence”.

Connor O’Neil, 20, of Kingmoor Road, Carlisle, received 20 months detention in a young offenders institute. He was described as one of the instigators of the violence and delivered a “flying headbutt” to Mr Ip.

Lee O’Neil, 31, from Peterborough, was handed a two-year suspended prison sentence after he was found guilty of affray by a jury last month.

Judge Batty gave Connor, Ricky and Joshua O’Neil credit for their guilty pleas and took into account Lee O’Neil’s previous good character and said his involvement was less than the others.

He added that there was “no clear evidence” of Lee O’Neil’s involvement in the violence other than by his “obvious presence, encouraging the others”.

In handing out their respective punishments, Judge Batty told the four: “The level of violence on this night and the consequences to a perfectly innocent, law-abiding member of the public, require significant sentences to each of you.”

Lee O’Neil was also handed a six-month curfew and ordered to pay £1,500 prosecution costs.

After today's sentencing, Detective Inspector Furzana Nazir said: “The sentence given today by the judge highlights how violent behaviour will not be tolerated on the streets of Carlisle. The attack on Tim was unprovoked by a group who acted as a pack.

“This was a complex investigation into a serious assault which at the initial stages may have proven fatal.

“I am really pleased that Tim is on the road to recovery and I am sure his family is pleased that he is recovering. However, even a year later Tim is not by any means the way he used to be."

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