Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Pal of Shane Killers Locked Up over 'Loutish' Attack

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Pal of Shane Killers Locked Up over 'Loutish' Attack

Article excerpt

Byline: Gareth Lightfoot Court Reporter

A TEENAGE thug whose former friends are serving time for killing Shane Tunney has been locked up for a similar attack on his 17th birthday.

Branton March, Brandon Pitt and a 15-year-old boy subjected an innocent man and his partner to a barrage of vile verbal abuse on Norton Green.

When the victim shouted back, he was punched, kicked and stamped on by the violent gang, Teesside Crown Court heard yesterday.

The events carried chilling echoes of a fatal attack involving Pitt and the younger boy months later.

They took part in assaulting Shane Tunney and Anthony Kirk on Norton High Street in the early hours of June 27 after the victims objected to being pelted with rotten food from a shop roof. Mr Tunney, 24, suffered a severe head injury with brain bleeding and swelling and died in hospital just over a month later.

Pitt, 18, and the other boy, now 17, were convicted and locked up for manslaughter.

They and March, now 18, were in a group which verbally abused a man and his partner on Norton Green at 9.50pm on February 10 last year.

The couple were taunted with sexual comments and "grotesque sexual suggestions" to the woman, said prosecutor Harry Hadfield.

They tried to ignore it but the man shouted at the group to stop, and he was confronted and attacked by three aggressive youths.

He was pushed, punched in the face, kicked and stamped to the head and body, grabbed and his clothes pulled as he tried to defend himself.

He told how his legs buckled, he felt dizzy and fell to the floor.

March was the "main man" delivering blows to the face and striking him on the ground while the youngest boy, who cannot be named, ran about exposing himself.

The victim was helped to his feet by his partner and the assailants ran off. He suffered bruising, swelling and a footwear mark to the face, but no permanent injury.

He said he was trying to protect his partner before the unprovoked attack.

He had lived in Norton most of his life but moved from his home because "the whole situation got on top of me". …

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