Man jailed over "ferocious" baseball-bat attack on lifelong pal under secluded motorway bridge

A man who carried out a "ferocious" baseball-bat attack on his lifelong friend over a disagreement about money has been jailed.

By Nick Frame
Wednesday, 30th September 2020, 8:42 am

Ross Duncan Albert McNab Blair hit his pal "at least 20 times" and broke several of his bones after driving him to a secluded spot under a motorway, Leeds Crown Court was told.

Prosecuting, Alisha Kaye said 42-year-old Blair, along with his friend and his girlfriend, had been at Blair's home on Sowgate Lane, Knottingley on November 7 where the pair of them stayed for a couple of hours before leaving to go into Pontefract town centre.

Later that day the friend received a call from Blair who accused him of stealing money.

Ross Blair was jailed.

They agreed to meet, and Blair picked up the male and female up in a vehicle where the arguing continued.

Ms Kaye said that Blair drove them to a secluded location, pulling up under a bridge which runs under the M62, before Blair pulled out a baseball bat and jabbed his friend in the eye and caused it to bleed.

The victim's father quickly turned up after being called to help them, and the female was able to flee, but Blair began hitting his friend who had stumbled on the road, using full force with the wooden bat "at least 20 times", added Ms Kaye.

The victim was only able to get away when another vehicle wanted to get past on the road and Blair was forced to move his own vehicle.

After being taken to hospital, the victim was found to have a broken ankle, finger and a clean break to his arm. He also needed to wear a leg brace, use crutches and is left with a scar over his eye.

A victim impact statement read out said the man had been left unable to work and affected his mental health.

Blair admitted a charge of GBH and theft of his friend's phone which had been dropped on the floor during the attack.

A probation report into Blair found that he had began taking heroin in his early 30s, had managed to kick his habit and had returned to using crack cocaine, which he would take with his friend - whom he knew from school - the court was told.

The report suggested that despite Blair admitting full responsibility for the attack, he continues to "struggle in the relationship" with his friend and still has no remorse of empathy for his actions.

However, since that day he has managed to stay away from all drugs.

Mitigating for Blair, Stephen Welforde said his client now lived an isolated life, adding: "He has no violence on his record. Custody will be a difficult experience for him."

Jailing him for 27 months, Judge Simon Batiste said: "This incident was clearly brought about due to the vast amount of crack cocaine you had taken in the days around this offence.

"It can be the only realistic reason why someone of your age would involve themselves in extreme violence.

"You went to meet him and you quickly attacked him. It can only be described as a ferocious attack, hitting him with great power on at least 20 occasions.

"You still, despite what you have done, lack any real remorse or empathy towards him."