A GROUP of people dragged an innocent man from a taxi and beat him so savagely he had to be taken to hospital.
The incident, which happened in Lambourn High Street, was witnessed by several horrified villagers who were woken by the merciless attack.
It was described as “an extremely nasty assault” by Helen Waite, prosecuting at West Berkshire Magistrates Court.
In the dock on Thursday, March 10, were two of the attackers – Ronan Loughnane of High Street, Upper Lambourn, and Gemma Louise Beardsley from Lindrick Close, Grantham, Lincolnshire.
Ms Waite said they had been returning to Lambourn in a taxi from a night out when the vehicle was flagged down by their victim, a stranger named Craig Tizzard, who had got lost walking across fields on his way home.
She added: “He got in. The taxi driver said the atmosphere in the cab was jovial at first until, when they reached Lambourn, it suddenly turned nasty.”
The taxi driver described how 20-year-old Mr Loughnane, 18-year-old Ms Beardsley and another woman started screaming at Mr Tizzard to get out.
Ms Waite said: “They just turned on him.
“The taxi driver had stopped at a junction in Lambourn and all three dragged Mr Tizzard out on to the pavement and started laying into him, windmilling punches as he lay on the floor.
“Mr Tizzard managed to break free and jumped back in the taxi, shouting: ‘Drive, drive!’
“But the door was suddenly pulled open before it could drive off and Mr Tizzard was dragged out again.”
Battered and bleeding, Mr Tizzard stumbled for 50 yards but, before he could escape, the three attackers were joined by another male who arrived on the scene, the court heard.
Ms Waite said: “All four then attacked Mr Tizzard in a free-for-all.
“Several local residents were woken by the calamitous noise and saw Mr Tizzard on the ground as the others kicked and punched him.
“He was pleading with them to stop.
“One lady shouted at them to get off him but they turned on her in an aggressive manner, shouting: ‘What are you going to do about it?’”
The emergency services eventually arrived and Mr Tizzard was taken by ambulance to hospital where he was treated for injuries to his arms, legs, ribs and eyes, the court heard.
In an interview with police, Ms Beardsley exercised her right to silence, the court heard, while Mr Loughnane told police he had been drinking in The Swan at Great Shefford before going on to another venue and could remember nothing subsequently.
Ms Waite said: “This was an extremely nasty attack.
“There is CCTV footage which is quite dramatic and I feel it should be shown to any sentencing hearing.”
Mr Loughnane and Ms Beardsley admitted, jointly with others, assaulting Mr Tizzard by beating him on September 5 last year.
Jennifer Lewin, representing both defendants, said neither had any previous convictions, although Ms Beardsley has been reprimanded for common assault and taking a vehicle without consent.
Ms Lewin suggested adjourning the case for pre-sentence reports to be prepared.
The bench agreed but presiding magistrate Brenda Harding warned that these should be prepared on the basis that all sentencing options were under consideration, including imprisonment.
Both defendants were meanwhile released on unconditional bail.