55 Years For Men Behind Bexhill Attack

Four men convicted of beating a man and leaving him with severe brain damage have been sentenced to a total of 55 years behind bars.

Zack Dangerfield, 25, of Preston Road, Bexhill, Thomas Unwin, 25, of High Street, Ripley in Derbyshire, John Panice, 26, of Wartlington Drive, Bexhill and Stephen Luck, 26, of Kinscott Close, Bexhill were all found guilty of GBH with intent at Hove Crown Court on October 26.

On Thursday (October 27) they were sentenced at the same court. Unwin, Panice and Luck all received 14 years imprisonment and Dangerfield received 13 years.

Judge Gold condemned their attack on Alfie in July 2013 and said Alfie had done nothing to cause this attack on him.

The Judge also gave Detective Constable Paul Semple a commendation for his continued work through the investigation and through the trial.

Here's a reminder of the background...

Four men who left a man with severe brain damage have been found guilty of his assault.

Alfie Peak (pictured below) was attacked outside a takeaway on Sea Road, Bexhill, in the early hours of Saturday, July 27 2013 after a verbal altercation inside, leaving him with life changing head injuries.

Read on to find out about what happened three years ago and his daughter's reaction.

Now, more than three years after the attack, four men have been found guilty. Zack Dangerfield, 25, of Preston Road, Bexhill, Thomas Unwin, 25, of High Street, Ripley in Derbyshire, John Panice, 26, of Wartling Drive, Bexhill and Steven Luck, 26, of Kinscott Close, Bexhill have all been found guilty of GBH with intent.

Alfie, who was 25 at the time, had been out with his friend Luke Jones in the Devonshire Pub in Bexhill where they had met other local men Dangerfield, Unwin, Panice, Luck. Nothing there happened which would reflect the events some hours later, just a short walk down the road. Alfie and Luke left the pub at about 2am and went to USA Fried Chicken takeaway on Sea Road to get some food before going home. A few minutes later Dangerfield, Unwin, Panice and Luck turned up to do the same, and CCTV shows a relaxed atmosphere between all the men.

However Panice's interaction with the staff at the takeaway over his chips, changed the evening. Luke Jones intervened with what was initially words to calm down the situation, but quickly escalated into a verbal confrontation (CCTV below) and soon spilled out on the street where Alfie was injured.

Police were called at shortly after 2.30am and turned up to find Alfie unconscious and being treated, he was rushed to hospital. Witnesses at the scene, who had come to Alfie's aid, described him as being repeatedly kicked in the head. Officers at the scene found blood on the pavement next to a shop window where Alfie's head had smashed into it.

Two men were initially identified as being involved and even returned to the scene to laugh as Alfie was being treated; Dangerfield and Unwin. Dangerfield was arrested later on the same day with Unwin being arrested three days later. Dangerfield named Panice and Luck and they were both also identified in the takeaway CCTV. They were arrested the following day.

Detectives working on the case spoke to witnesses and reviewed CCTV and were able to charge the four with the assault a year later. Witnesses repeatedly told police they saw a group of men kicking Alfie in the head while he lay on the floor.

During the court case at Hove Crown Court the four's defence claimed it wasn't them who carried out the attack claiming they did not know what happened to Alfie, however a jury listened to the evidence presented to them and disagreed, convicting all four of them.

They will be sentenced on Thursday (October 27).

Detective Constable Paul Semple, who has worked on the case since 2013, said: "This was a trulybrutal attack which has left a young man with permanent brain damage and confined to a wheelchair, continuing with rehab. Alfie was only 25 years of age when this happened and his life will never be the same again as a result. Understandably, his family are devastated and we are pleased to see justice done.

"Nothing can change Alfie's life now but we hope the end to this legal process will help his family and those who have supported him feel some kind of closure and now have answers to what happened that night.”

Alfie's family reacted to the verdict on Wednesday (October 26). They said: "We are shocked and saddened to hear how the witnesses described the attack as being so brutal and violent. We obviously know that Alfie suffered a very aggressive attack as he has suffered severe brain damage but it's really horrible listening to it in court.

"We hope some justice is served to Alfie by a long prison sentence for all those involved. Alfie will never get to do the things he used to do like boxing or swimming or cooking dinner. It's changed his life forever. Alfie's living a life sentence in his own body.”

His 12-year-old daughter Summa (pictured with Alfie before the attack) added: "It's not very nice and very unfair knowing my dad did nothing wrong to be like this, in a wheelchair and unable to talk. It's really sad that he can't do the things he used to be able to do with me like birthdays and Christmases.”

Alfie, who can't speak but communicates with a computer, said: "If they go to prison for the rest of their lives then I will try to deal with being in a wheelchair for the rest if mine."

Disclaimer: All the material has been released with the support of Alfie and his family.

From Sussex Police