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Man rained down punches on gay man in front of five-year-old child in Derby

Thomas O'Donnell was handed a two-year conditional discharge following the homophobic attack

2019-02-28

A man ‘rained down punches’ on another man because of his sexuality in front of a five year old.

Thomas O’Donnell, 35, was handed a two-year conditional discharge after he made homophobic comments towards a gay man before attacking him in front a five-year-old child the victim was looking after.

While appearing at Derby Crown Court, the court heard that O’Donnell grabbed his victim by the hair as he defended himself and ordered the child out of the room before continuing to assault the man.

Prosecutor Christopher Jeeves told the court that the victim was asleep upstairs when O’Donnell and other people arrived at the house to carry on drinking.

He said: “Having heard a noise the victim came downstairs.

“There was some unpleasantness where his (the victim’s) voice was being mimicked because he is homosexual.

“The victim went back upstairs but a short time later he heard a commotion and he called the police.

“The defendant came storming upstairs and pulled the quilt from the victim before beginning to punch him to the face.

“The victim tried to block the blows so the defendant grabbed him by the hair and told him to get downstairs.

“As he was raining punches on him he was making derogatory comments towards him about him being homosexual.”

After being arrested he spent around nine months in custody while awaiting another trial of a co-defendant which never happened.

Recorder Simon King told O’Donnell this week: “You need to understand that people that behave in the way you did on this occasion should expect to go to prison.

“Given the background, with your credit, I would be handing you a sentence of around 16 months. But you have already spent the equivalent of an 18-month sentence while in custody awaiting a trial for your co-accused to come to court.

“That has now been resolved and I don’t think it would be right for me to impose a sentence that would send you back to prison given what you have already served.

“What this conditional discharge means, therefore, is that if you keep a clean sheet and keep out of trouble for the next two years this will be the end of the matter.”