A thug who beat up and humiliated a homeless man outside York Station has been condemned for his “disgusting” behaviour – but was spared jail.
Damen Metcalfe, 35, carried out his attack as the vulnerable man left the station where he had been trying to keep warm in the cold winter weather, York Crown Court heard.
Metcalfe, who was with another unnamed male, started shouting at the named victim – who appeared to be advanced in years – “for no good reason” and then snatched his hat and threw it into the road, said prosecutor Gareth Henderson-Moore.
The victim told his tormentor to go away but Metcalfe responded by punching him to the ground before kicking him.
When he got to his feet Metcalfe pushed him back to the ground and kicked him “forcefully” to the chest.
The victim, a former doorman who had fallen on hard times, was so scared that he soiled himself which he described as “extremely humiliating”.
He suffered lasting pain to his head and chest and bruising around his eye following the incident in March 2023 which occurred on the concourse or pavement outside the station and was captured on CCTV.
Mr Henderson-Moore said Metcalfe had targeted the victim precisely because he was a vulnerable homeless man.
The victim had been spending time in waiting rooms at the railway station “to try to keep warm” but he had been moved on by a security officer.
As he was leaving the station and talking to another homeless man, Metcalfe suddenly appeared and carried out his unprovoked attack.
Metcalfe, of Rosemary Court, Easingwold, was arrested and charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Following initial denials, he ultimately admitted the offence and appeared for sentence today (Friday, 9 February) expecting a jail sentence.
In a statement read out in court, the victim said he was “so hurt and upset” after the attack which had caused him “stress and humiliation”.
“I was extremely scared because it was unprovoked,” he added.
“I used to work as a doorman, therefore I know how bad things can happen in the city. I just want homeless people in York to be protected from violent people like this man.”
115 previous offences
The court heard that Metcalfe’s criminal career, spanning 18 years, included 115 previous offences including serious violence, theft, being drunk and disorderly, racially aggravated harassment, burglary, taking a car without the consent of the owner, drug matters, driving while over the prescribed limit, public disorder and breaching bail and court orders.
Defence barrister Lily Wildman said the root cause of Metcalfe’s offending was a drink problem, but he was now getting help for this through an addiction charity.
She said the father-of-one had led a “chaotic” lifestyle” but urged judge Simon Hickey to take the unusual step of suspending the inevitable jail sentence so that her client could get the help he needed to stay off alcohol and out of trouble.
Mr Hickey described as “disgraceful” Metcalfe’s unprovoked attack on the homeless man.
However, he also noted assertions by Metcalfe’s barrister and the Probation Service that he was at a “crossroads…in his life” and should be given the help he urgently needed to stay off alcohol and out of trouble.
He said the “easiest thing” would be to send Metcalfe straight to jail, but he had to take account of the defence contention that he was at a crucial juncture in his life and should be given a chance to rehabilitate himself.
The judge said that despite the “degradation and humiliation” suffered by the victim, he had narrowly decided to suspend the inevitable jail sentence because of the steps Metcalfe had made to keep on the right path and the new stability in his personal and family life.
Metcalfe was given a 10-month jail sentence, but this was suspended for 18 months. The order includes a 120-day alcohol-monitoring programme and 15 rehabilitation-activity days.
Metcalfe was ordered to pay the victim £200 compensation to “help alleviate some of his difficulties” as a homeless man.