A PAIR of thugs who carried out three violent robberies within two hours on early morning workers in Mansfield have each been jailed for eight years.
James Chandler and Darryl Hill attacked a taxi driver, bus driver and a shopkeeper between 4-6am on 21st December.
The taxi driver was hit in the face with a bottle and bled heavily, Nottingham Crown Court was told on Thursday.
The second victim, a bus driver walking to work, had knives held to his face and stomach.
And the most serious attack was on a 68-year-old shopkeeper, who suffered two broken ribs and spent four days in hospital over Christmas.
James Chandler (21), of Simpson Road, Mansfield, and Darryl Hill (27), of Clifton Place, Mansfield, admitted the offences.
Judge John Milmo told them he had considered indefinite prison sentences for the protection of the public – but decided a fixed period was appropriate.
Prosecutor Jim Metcalf said taxi driver Ryan Smith was directed to pick up a fare at 4am at West Hill Drive.
His two attackers asked to be taken to a garage on Chesterfield Road South where they bought cigarettes and a bottle of lemonade.
On the way back to West Hill Drive Mr Smith was grabbed from behind and felt a sharp object put to his neck.
“Hill hit him in the face with the bottle of lemonade,” said Mr Metcalf.
The victim suffered further violence before deliberately jolting his vehicle.
He returned to base bleeding heavily and was treated for a badly bruised nose, eye and swelling to his cheek.
The following day he went to King’s Mill Hospital and his sense of smell had been permanently affected.
Following the attack Mr Smith had trouble sleeping and was reluctant to work at night, the court was told.
His iPod Touch was missing but was found near to the scene of the assault.
The second victim, bus driver Brian Marshall, was walking along Wood Street at 5.45am.
One attacker pushed him against a wall and held a knife to his face, and another held a knife to his stomach.
The men demanded money and when Mr Marshall said he had none he was pushed to the ground where both men kicked him to the head, said Mr Metcalf.
He tried to flag down a passing car but was pushed over and kicked again.
His attackers snatched his rucksack, containing an estimated £230 worth of items, including a mobile phone, glasses and trousers.
Two weeks later he told police he was still off work and had a problem with his eye that needed specialist treatment.
The third victim, shopkeeper Ian Brimble, went to the rear storage area at his shop on Regent Street at 6am.
Two men walking up the alleyway demanded his phone and money.
He was hit in the face then Hill kicked him in the ribs.
His phone was taken from him along with his wallet containing two Manchester United season tickets.
He went to hospital with two fractured ribs and developed fluid on his lungs which became infected.
Chandler was arrested two days later on 23rd December. He said he had been drinking heavily and using cocaine and another drug.
He was in breach of a four-week suspended prison sentence for making a hoax phone call to police.
Hill, arrested on 29th December, had been given a suspended sentence in the past for burglary. Both men had prior convictions for assault but nothing for robbery.
Chandler’s barrister Martin Elwick said his client had not been taking his medication and was remorseful and ashamed of his behaviour.
Gurdal Singh, in mitigation for Hill, accepted the robberies were a joint enterprise.
Det Con Jamie Moore, who led the police investigation, said that the robbers’ actions that morning are still having repercussions for the innocent victims involved.
He said: “The victims in this case did absolutely nothing to warrant being attacked in such a cruel and violent way – they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“They are still dealing with the physical effects of being so violently attacked and are still coming to terms with what happened to them and I think it’s fair to say that the events of that morning will stay with them for some time to come.
“Chandler and Hill inflicted serious brutality on their victims for a few trivial items. This was not just about financial gain – this was about inflicting violence.
“I hope that it offers the victims at least some comfort that their attackers are now each beginning lengthy prison sentences and are not free to hurt anyone else.”