‘Dangerous’ thug arrested in Burgess Hill handed seven-year jail sentence

A ‘dangerous’ thug who was arrested in Burgess Hill after smashing a stranger over the head with a bottle of Grey Goose vodka has been jailed for seven years.

British Transport Police (BTP) said Joseph Smith, 23, of no fixed address, was found guilty of two counts of grievous bodily harm with intent at Lewes Crown Court on August 16, following the unprovoked attack in August 2018.

Joseph Smith. Photo courtesy of British Transport Police

Joseph Smith. Photo courtesy of British Transport Police

The second charge relates to an incident on March 29, last year, where he punched a man after being kicked out of a bar in Burgess Hill, fracturing his jaw and knocking out several teeth, said BTP.

The judge sentenced Smith to seven years in prison with two years on extended licence.

The court heard that on August 12, last year, at around 11.45pm, the victim had stopped for a kebab with a friend on his way to Brighton station while his girlfriend waited outside.

Smith and a friend were being rude and abusive to passers-by in the street, the court was told, and they approached the victim’s girlfriend and made a series of lewd comments towards her.

The victim left the shop and he, his girlfriend and another friend continued walking to Brighton station ignoring the pair.

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Smith followed them to Brighton station, the court heard, continuing to be abusive before looping in front of the victim and smashing him across the head with a large bottle of Grey Goose vodka, causing him to fall straight to the floor. He was taken to hospital by ambulance where he received treatment for multiple complex facial fractures.

Smith initially boarded a train to swap his t-shirt with a man on board, the court heard, before taunting the victim’s girlfriend who was trying to point him out to staff, saying: “What was I wearing? Well it will show differently on the CCTV won’t it.” He then quickly left the station before officers arrived.

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Following a number of enquiries, Smith was arrested at an address in Burgess Hill in April 2019, the court was told.

The judge said he was a ‘dangerous’ individual with ‘an inability to control himself’ and ‘showed no real remorse’ for his actions.

In his victim impact statement, the victim said he has felt vulnerable and struggled to sleep properly since the incident.

DS Allan McTaggart said: “Smith is a repeat violent offender who has shown absolutely no remorse for his behaviour or consideration for his victims.

“I thoroughly echo the Judge’s comments and welcome the significant custodial sentence imposed on Smith for this senseless attack.

“There is absolutely no place for violence of any kind on the railway network and we will do everything in our power to bring these offenders before the courts to answer for their actions.”