DRUNK men punched and kicked their victim in the face during a ‘sickening’ and ‘horrific’ attack in Hereford city centre.

Shocking CCTV footage of the group attack was played at Worcester Crown Court on Tuesday.

The victim was knocked to the floor four times by 'haymaker' punches before being repeatedly punched and kicked in the head, face and body by three men as he lay helpless on the ground.

Luke Robinson, aged 19, of Folly Lane, Hereford and Daryl Warren, aged 23, of Queensway, Hereford, were jailed as family members wept in the public gallery.

Warren admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm and affray and Robinson admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm following the sustained attack at around 1am on June 1 last year.

Jamie Scott, prosecuting, said a scuffle began when Robinson complained his chips had been knocked to the ground outside a fish and chip shop in Commercial Street, Hereford.

The victim, 22-year-old Mr Simpson, described as an 'innocent passer-by' by the judge, tried to break up this fight before he was set upon himself first by Robinson then by Warren.

"A police officer who viewed it in real time described it as a sickening assault. A custody nurse (who witnessed the attack) described it as horrific” said Mr Scott.

Robinson, who led the violence, used his fists while Warren used both feet and fists. The judge said kicking with a shod foot was equivalent to the use of a weapon, placing the assault in category one.

The attack began when Robinson 'felled' Mr Simpson. Robinson can be seen on the CCTV aiming what the judge described as 'hard punches' at his face while the victim was down on the road. Another, unidentified man also kicked Mr Simpson in the head.

Judge Nicolas Cartwright described it as 'a two on one' attack which continued despite a woman trying to stop the assault.

The judge referred to the assault as 'extreme violence' which 'could have caused serious, life-changing injuries or worse'.

He said: "You, Daryl Warren, became involved with kicks to Toby Simpson where he lay on the ground, aiming plainly at his head. Mr Simpson managed to get up and was affected by what had already happened to him.

"He was unsteady as can be seen on the footage. You, Daryl Warren attacked him again from behind and felled him to the roadway yet again. There was then a further attack on Mr Simpson who managed to get up yet again.

"You, Luke Robinson, at that stage duplicated the attack that Daryl Warren had made from behind with the same result, felling Toby Simpson to the roadway yet again where he was again attacked. You, Daryl Warren then felled him yet again.

"This was a drawn out, repeated and sustained attack on man who was grossly outnumbered."

Judge Cartwright said that though Mr Simpson had not sustained any permanent injuries, the attack had an ongoing effect on him as 'he now rarely goes out'.

Both Robinson and Warren were said to be 'under the influence of alcohol' at the time.

At one point during the attack Warren kicked Mr Simpson so hard to the head he dislodged his shoe.

Warren was also involved in another attack on a man wearing a striped jumper which formed the affray charge.

Up to six males were involved in the fight as it spilled out onto the main road but they dispersed when police arrived. Not all those involved have been successfully identified but Robinson and Warren were arrested.

Robinson admitted what he had done in police interview, telling officers he ‘went a bit crazy’ and expressed disgust at his own behaviour.

Mr Simpson was taken to Hereford hospital with scrapes and bruises, a swollen right eye, a blood clot around his right eye and jaw, scuff marks to his right hand and elbow and a bruise to the right hand side of his ribs. A watch worth £100 was also damaged.

Robinson, 18 when the attack took place, had one reprimand on record. Warren had no previous convictions, cautions or reprimands.

Mark Thompson, for Warren, asked that his client be given a third discount in the length of any custodial sentence to reflect his guilty pleas at the earliest opportunity but accepted 'higher culpability' because of the use of a shod foot.

He argued that his client’s behaviour was ‘entirely out of character’ and that there had been no repeat of the offence since.

“This must be just a moment of drunken madness on behalf of this young man” said Mark Thompson.

Martin Butterworth, for Robinson, said that the victim did not sustain a life-changing injury or any significant injury. He referred to his client's youth and previous 'impeccable' good character.

He said Robinson had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and had a sincere desire to join the forces.

"At every stage he has simply expressed disgust and remorse and the desire to change" said Mr Butterworth.

The judge said in such cases there was a need for deterrent sentences which meant the custodial terms could not be suspended.

He jailed Warren for 16 months and sentenced Robinson to 14 months detention in a Young Offender Institution.