Men jailed for ‘unprovoked and vicious’ attack

Three men were jailed yesterday, following what police described as an ‘unprovoked and vicious’ attack on a man in Horsham.

Luke Talbot, 21, of St Christopher’s Close, Horsham, had pleaded guilty to wounding with intent and was jailed for three and a half years.

Max Talbot, 22, of St Christopher’s Close, Horsham, was convicted of causing actual bodily harm and was sentenced to five months in prison.

Jason Engleby, 20, of Bostock Avenue, Horsham, was found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm and was jailed for two and a half years.

Victim Nikolay Minchev was attacked while he was walking home from Chameleon nightclub around 2.20am on Saturday July 23 last year.

He suffered stab wounds to the body caused by a broken bottle, and serious head injuries consistent with having been punched and kicked, and a fractured wrist which is still causing him problems.

A statement from Sussex Police said: “The incident came to immediate police notice thanks to an alert police CCTV Operator, Keith Wilkins, who actually saw the attack on his camera and alerted officers.

“Police made swift enquiries including a public appeal in which police CCTV stills showing them at the scene were released to news media and social media.

“Within hours of that appeal police received information naming three people who were arrested within hours. Max Talbot was arrested late on the Saturday evening 23 July, and Luke Talbot and Jason Engleby in the early hours of Sunday,

“All three were interviewed. Both Max Talbot and Engleby gave detailed accounts of how they were set on by a group of people, thus portraying themselves as victims, until they were shown the CCTV. They then had no choice but to acknowledge that they assaulted the man. Luke Talbot did not answer any questions put to him.

Detective Constable Matt Wilson said; “This was a completely mindless and vicious assault on a man minding his own business and walking home from a night out. Two of the defendants tried to maintain that they were provoked and acted in self-defence, but the court found that there was quite clearly no evidence whatsoever of that.

“The police CCTV, which is operated in conjunction with Horsham District Council, shows that they mounted an utterly disgraceful attack on an innocent man, who still suffers both physically and emotionally.”

Keith Wilkins received an Outstanding Front Line Award citation in a special police ceremony for West Sussex officers and staff in July. The citation reads: “In the early hours of 23 July 2011, Keith Wilkins, a CCTV operator, monitored two males leaving a dark car park in Horsham. He saw one of the men being assaulted by three others. The victim was punched, kicked and stabbed twice. Moon alerted the local controller who despatched officers to the scene. They arrived within minutes to find the victim unconscious and bleeding profusely. Moon then directed the officers to the route the offenders had taken when fleeing the scene, allowing for the weapon to be recovered.”

Full story in next week’s County Times.