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Two jailed for ‘gratuitous’ attack on Bermondsey brothers

Two men who randomly targeted a pair of middle-aged brothers walking home to a Bermondsey estate and subjected them to a violent attack have been sentenced to a total of 20 years in prison.

Two jailed for ‘gratuitous’ attack on Bermondsey brothers
Derron Brown and Jamal Hislop-Whall

24-year-old Jamal Hislop-Whall from Peckham and Derron Brown, also 24, from Croydon, were both jailed for ten years each at Inner London Crown Court on Thursday 11 May.

They had each previously been convicted of two counts of robbery, one count of grievous bodily harm, and one count of actual bodily harm, at the same court on Thursday 9 March.

The original attack happened on 25 September 2016, just after midnight, when the victims, two brothers aged 57 and 34, were walking back home to the Longfield Estate in Bermondsey following a family party.

At the entrance to the communal steps of their block they were confronted by three men, including both defendants. The court heard evidence from the younger brother, who told them that one of the men approached him, saying: "What have you got for me?"

Both brothers were then set upon in a vicious attack, being repeatedly punched and kicked. The elder of the two was dragged down the concrete steps of the block and left unconscious, requiring urgent medical assistance. He was treated at scene by the air ambulance crew.

His younger brother told the court: "I thought they had killed him. I thought my brother had passed away". The younger brother himself suffered bruises and cuts following blows to his face, arms and legs. They both had items stolen, including a mobile phone and car keys.

Hislop-Whall was arrested near to the scene shortly after police were called. He was searched and found in possession of the stolen mobile phone. Also a speck of blood found by forensic examiners on his right trainer revealed that it belonged to the elder brother victim.

Brown was later identified as one of the attackers and arrested at his home address on 31 October. Police searched his address and recovered the victim's stolen car keys from a rucksack in his bedroom.

The elder brother suffered horrific injuries as a result of the robbery. He had a bleed on the brain, smashed front teeth, and a detached lens in his left eye – and spent two weeks in hospital following the attack. When visited by family within this time he could not remember who his daughter was when she came to visit.

The effects of the attack have also been life-changing for him. He can no longer drive, so has had to give up work as a taxi driver. He has continued impaired vision in his left eye, despite surgery, and must now walk with a stick. Since the attack he has to be attended to daily by carers.

In his victim impact statement, the elder brother commented: "This has had a tremendous emotional impact on me. I feel stressed all the time and frustrated, I don't like to go outside any more and don't enjoy socialising. It is without doubt that I am a different person now than before the attack. I have lost my profession, my health and my confidence."

His wife's statement, also read out to the court, said: "After I heard the commotion outside, I went downstairs and saw my husband lying on the floor covered in blood. He could not speak. I was shocked and horrified, and thought he'd been stabbed." She also recalled how upset their 13-year-old daughter was when her father did not recognise her in the hospital.

She said: "We have four children and all our lives have been changed. We are having to adapt to him being a different person since this terrible attack took place. There are so many ways this has affected all of us and life will perhaps not be the same for us again."

The judge, Recorder Mr MP Taylor, said: "Both brothers had the misfortune to come upon you. Both of you quickly saw them as a mark. Men you could rob. It is lawless behaviour.

"You set about the elder brother. You laid into him with fists and feet. It was gratuitous. His life will never be the same again; he has life changing injuries. I did not see any remorse in the trial. You portrayed them to be the aggressors, that was cynical."

Detective Constable Matt Griffiths, from Southwark CID, who investigated the case, said: "This was a truly shocking and despicable attack on two members of the local community who have lived in the area for over 20 years.

"The brothers were simply walking home and were most likely identified as easy targets in this unprovoked assault. They were savagely beaten all for a mobile phone and a set of keys.

"The family were supported in court by several residents of the estate who gave evidence for the prosecution. This shows how the community is willing to come together to help each other in the face of such a cowardly and brutal attack.

"The sentences handed to Hislop-Whall and Brown should send a clear and stark message that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated."

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