A gang of masked thugs who brandished metal bars and a machete at a Newcastle pub as part of a revenge attack have been jailed.
The men will spend a total of more than 17 years behind bars after they were this week convicted of planning an attack on a 30-year-old man.
It took place on the afternoon of December 8, 2016, when a gang of masked men sprung upon the victim as he was smoking outside the Fosse Pub in Walker.
A court was told how members of the masked gang sprayed him in the face with ammonia, pulled him to the ground and began to attack him with metal bars and a large knife.
The brutal attack only came to an end when people inside the pub heard the commotion and came outside to chase the gang away.
It was at this point that the group smashed the windows of the pub before clambering into a white Vauxhall Vivaro van and fleeing the scene.
The victim, now 33, was rushed to hospital with a number of serious injuries including a fractured skull caused by a blow to the head with an axe.
A 51-year-old woman was also treated for minor burns to the face after being sprayed with ammonia during the altercation.
Detectives launched an investigation but the victim of the serious assault did not support the prosecution leaving them without their key witness.
However, the investigative team had already found the Vivaro van abandoned with some key items left inside and in the immediate area.
Clothing and weapons believed to be used in the attack were seized and tested for DNA that ultimately helped identify some of those men involved in the attack.
Over the following weeks Trevor Harrison, Michael Ferry, Dean Bailey, Colin Mole, Michael Johnson and Ross Carlson were all arrested by police.
They were all later charged with wounding with intent, assault and violent disorder. The men denied the charges and the case went to trial but it was adjourned after an issue arose with the jury.
On July 9 the case was back before Newcastle Crown Court where the Crown Prosecution Service accepted guilty pleas from all the defendants on violent disorder.
The other charges were dropped as there was not enough evidence to prove if any of the six men had carried out the physical assault.
And yesterday (Monday) five of the men have been jailed for a total of 17 years and three months at Newcastle Crown Court.
Trevor Harrison, one of the main offenders in the case, is set to be sentenced at a later date meaning the total sentence could exceed 20 years in prison.
Following the case, Detective Sergeant Nick McKenna, said it highlighted that police can secure convictions against violent thugs even when victims don’t support a prosecution.
Det Sgt McKenna said: "This was a brutal attack outside a popular Newcastle pub and we are lucky not to be standing here talking about a murder case.
"The victim in this case was left with a fractured skull and could have easily died if it wasn't for the quick intervention of medical staff.
"It has taken a long time for this investigation to come to court and a lot of excellent police work has gone in to securing these convictions.
"We were able to secure clothing, weapons and discarded items that were directly linked to the assault and were central to the case.
"Ultimately it was the forensic evidence that has proved the downfall of this gang and we have secured convictions even when the victim does not support a prosecution.
"There is no place for this level of violence on the streets of Newcastle and anyone who takes the law into their own hands should expect to be arrested and put before the courts.
"I want to praise all the officers who have worked tirelessly to bring this case to court over the past two years and held this violent gang to account.”
Ferry, 28, of Wimslow Close, Wallsend, and Bailey, 31, of Pearson Place, North Shields, were both jailed for three years and nine months.
Mole, 34, of Burnham Grove, Walker, and Johnson 35, of Front Street, Chirton, North Shields, were both jailed for three years and six months.
Carlson, 21, of Chirton Lane, North Shields, was jailed for two years and nine months for his part in the attack.
Trevor Harrison, 33, of Deanham Gardens, Fenham, will be sentenced at a later date.