Ifan Owens: Five men jailed for attacking Aberystwyth student

Ifan Richards Owens Image copyright Owens family
Image caption Mr Owens woke from a coma on 11 February, four weeks after the attack

Five men laughed as they were sentenced for attacking a university student which left him in a coma.

Ifan Owens, 20, from Cardiff, was attacked and found unconscious on High Street, Aberystwyth, on 14 January.

Billy Valentine, 19, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent at a previous hearing and was sentenced to seven and a half years at a young offenders' institution.

Four other men were also jailed at Swansea Crown Court on Wednesday.

As they were sentenced by Judge Keith Thomas, who said the five must share responsibility for the "devastating consequences" of their activities, the defendants laughed, waved at family members and fist bumped one another.

The attack happened after Mr Owens was walking with two friends and "exchanged banter" with the men, the court heard.

Mr Owens, who became separated from his friends told Valentine, from Aberystwyth, and two others that he "didn't want to fight".

Image copyright Dyfed-Powys Police
Image caption Billy Valentine, left, and David Robert Lloyd, right, both received custodial sentences

However, he was punched and kicked as he retreated down the road, the court heard.

He was hit with a traffic cone then punched by Valentine "with a sufficiently heavy blow" before falling to the ground where he "probably hit his head on the kerb".

Mr Owens, a second-year criminology student at Aberystwyth University, was initially taken to Bronglais Hospital, in the town, but was later transferred to Cardiff's University Hospital of Wales.

His injuries included fractured skull.

Mr Owens woke from his coma on 11 February, four weeks after the attack.

David Robert Lloyd, 25, of no fixed address, was jailed for three years and eight months; Lee Andersen, 20, of Newcastle Emlyn, received a 25-month jail term; and both Andrew Raymond John Scott, 23, of Llangwyryfon, and Michael Jones, 24, of Llanfair Clydogau, received 30-month sentences.

They had previously denied causing grievous bodily harm but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of violent disorder during a hearing on 1 August.

Image copyright Family picture
Image caption L-R Gareth Owens, Ifan Richard Owens and Tomi Owens at the Euro 2016 in Bordeaux

A victim impact statement was read by the prosecution on behalf of Mr Owens's father, Gareth Owens, in which he said his family "really feared the worst" after the attack.

As a result of his injuries, his son suffered from fatigue, memory loss, hearing problems, and has issues with his speech, the court heard.

He is also unsure whether he will return to his university studies, according to his father's statement.

Valentine's defence lawyer said he "went off the rails" following a personal tragedy, while the defence for the other men stressed the attack had not been premeditated.

They were identified by Mr Owens's friends following the incident as they were driven around the town by police officers.

Speaking after the hearing, Det Insp Anthony Evans said: "The incident shook the community of Aberystwyth, and I would like to thank members of that community for their continued support and understanding during what has been a lengthy and complex investigation."

Image caption Sentencing took place at Swansea Crown Court on Wednesday

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