Man gets life sentence for street attack in St Leonards

Christopher Mackay. Picture courtesy of Sussex Police
Christopher Mackay. Picture courtesy of Sussex Police

A man has been sentenced to life imprisonment after a vicious late night attack in St Leonards left his victim with serious facial injuries requiring multiple stitches and complex medical care at a specialist maxi-facial unit.

Christopher Mackay, 42, unemployed, of no fixed address, was sentenced to life, with a minimum tariff of seven and a half years before he can apply for parole.

He was found guilty at Lewes Crown Court after a six-day trial of causing grievous bodily harm to a man then aged 36 during a chance encounter in West Hill Road, St Leonards just before Christmas in 2015.

At the time of the assault Mackay was on prison release licence, having been released only four months previously.

He was serving an indeterminate sentence imposed at Lewes Crown Court on October 22, 2008 for a similar attack on a man at an address in Hastings in February that year.

Shortly after midnight on Saturday, December 19, 2015, Mackay and some friends were making their way along West Hill Road after a night out drinking, when they saw the victim, who was walking along the other side of the road with some friends of his own.

Words were exchanged between the groups as they passed each other, but then this developed into a physical confrontation in which Mackay became involved.

He violently hit the victim across the face with a bottle which smashed against his left cheek, then after knocking the victim to the ground Mackay kicked and stamped on him before running off.

After extensive enquiries he was tracked down and arrested the following month at an address in Royal Terrace, St Leonards.

A 36-year old woman with him was arrested on suspicion of violent disorder but was subsequently released without any further action.

Detective Constable Stuart Black said: “This was a vicious street attack which caused serious injury to the victim and traumatised the witnesses because of the sheer violence used by the offender throughout the attack.

“The use of a bottle as a weapon and then kicking and stamping on the victim when he was defenceless on the floor was cowardly and intended to inflict serious injury.

“The victim has had to undergo an operation to repair his facial injuries and significant dental work to replace and repair damage caused to his teeth.

“Thankfully he has fully recovered but he will have a permanent facial scar and a dental bridge.

“It is the second time Mackay has been sentenced for such an attack, and it is good to know that he will be away from the public for some years to come.

“I must pass on my thanks and those of the victim to all of the witnesses in this case who despite numerous issues provided clear and comprehensive evidence at the trial. We take very seriously our responsibilities for witnesses and victim care and their courage has produced this successful outcome.”

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