Two teenagers launched a brutal and unprovoked attack on a young man waiting for a taxi, a court has heard. One of them then got his phone out and took a photo of the bloodied and bruised man as he lay injured on the ground.

Swansea Crown Court heard the assault by Joshua Jones and Thomas McArthur-King has had a "profound impact" on their victim, leaving him not only with a badly damaged knee that required him to wear a brace but also leaving him suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder and panic attacks. A judge said the act of taking the picture of the injured man had added insult to injury, and that it was clear McArthur-King had "exalted" in what he had just done.

Dean Pulling, prosecuting, said the assault happened in the early hours of May 1, 2022, in Carmarthen town centre. He said the victim had been out socialising with friends and by the end of the night the group was in Savannah's club. The court heard that at one stage a friend of the victim jumped on his back and in so-doing they bumped into a table in the club. The pair were thrown out of the premises, and the victim later told police that as they were being ejected he heard shouts directed towards them by unknown males.

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The prosecutor said the pair made their way along Lammas Street looking for a pre-booked taxi and then waited for their cab in the grounds of Christ Church. As they stood outside the church they were approached by Jones and McArthur-King. The court heard McArthur-King delivered a "flying kick" to the complainant's friend and then he and Jones turned their attention to the victim, repeatedly punching and kicking him and taking him to the floor where further kicks were delivered. The prosecutor said while on the ground the complainant felt a "shooting" pain in his leg and believes he was stamped on. The attack finished with a shirtless McArthur-King getting his phone out and taking a photograph of the injured man as he lay on the ground.

Police were called and officers took the injured man who suffered multiple soft-tissue injuries, cuts and bruises, an undisplaced fracture of the wrist, and a partial tear of the medial collateral ligament of his knee to Glangwili Hospital. His wrist was put in a cast and his knee was put into a brace. Meanwhile CCTV camera operators had directed other police officers to the town centre Golden Lion pub where the defendants were identified and arrested at just before 4am. When McArthur-King was searched he was found to be in possession of a small quantity of cannabis.

The prosecutor read a statement from the victim of the assault in which he set out the impact of the incident. He said he no longer goes out socialising with friends and was suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder and panic attacks for which he was receiving cognitive behavioural therapy. He said the assault changed the way he now lives his life, adding: "Quite frankly, it ruined my life."

A judge said McArthur-King 'exalted' in the violence he had just engaged in by taking a picture of the injured man

Joshua Jones, now aged 21, of Heol y Pentre, Ponthenri, Llanelli, and Thomas McArthur-King, now aged 20, of Brynderi, Pontyates, Llanelli, had both previously pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding when they appeared in the dock for sentencing. Jones has a previous conviction for drug-driving from 2020 while McArthur-King has no previous convictions. For the latest court reports, sign up to our crime newsletter here

Mr Pulling said he had anticipated that the court would be concerned about the delay in the case and had discussed it with the district crown prosecutor prior to the hearing. The barrister said the explanation he had been given revolved around "significant evidential deficiencies" in the files submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service by Dyfed-Powys Police which led to the paperwork being returned and resubmitted several times. He said the district prosecutor was going to take up the matter "at a high level" with police. The judge pointed out that within hours of the incident police had arrested the defendants, had CCTV of the incident, had the complainant's statement, and could see the complainant had a brace and a cast on his injuries.

Hannah George, for Jones, said the behaviour displayed by the defendant on the night in question was out of character. She said as a teenager her client had acted as a carer for his mother until she passed away and that following her death he "lost himself" in alcohol and tried to drown out his emotions. The barrister said Jones was now in a stable relationship, had an apprenticeship at Dyfed Steel in Llanelli, and is a "markedly more mature man".

Caitlin Brazel, for McArthur-King, said the violence outside the church was also out of character for her client, and the incident had been fuelled by a lack of maturity. She said the defendant could not read or write and had experienced a "troubled upbringing" losing his father at the age of nine and then experiencing two "extremely abusive step-fathers". She said McArthur-King no longer uses drugs and has given up alcohol because, in his own words, he "doesn't like the person he became that night".

Judge Paul Thomas KC said on the night in question the defendants had launched an unprovoked two-on-one assault on their victim which caused significant damage to his knee and which had a "profound impact on his life". He said "to add insult to injury" McArthur-King had "exalted" in what he had just done by taking a photo of the injured man.

The judge told the pair that following the attack they had received "two undeserved matters of fortune" - namely the decision to charge them with unlawful wounding rather than the more serious charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent which carries a much longer sentence; and the near two-year delay in the case getting to court. He said he had read pre-sentence reports on the defendants and read about the steps they had taken to put their lives into better order and, "not without hesitation", had come to the conclusion there was a realistic prospect of rehabilitation.

With one-third discounts for their guilty pleas the defendants were each sentenced to 20 months in prison suspended for 18 months and were ordered to complete a rehabilitation course and to do 200 hours of unpaid work. McArthur-King was given a 12-month conditional discharge for possession of cannabis. Releasing the defendants from the dock the judge told them they had avoided prison by "the skin of your teeth" and warned them that if they re-offended in the next 18 months or failed to comply with the requirements of the sentence they would be brought back to court and they would then be going down to the cells rather leaving via the door.

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