A teenage thug from Exmouth who punched two strangers for his own entertainment has been jailed for 17 months.
Denva-Louis Smith, aged 19, from Mountain Close, Littleham, admitted two charges of actual bodily harm, and was sent to a young offenders’ institution by Judge Peter Johnson sitting at Exeter Crown Court.
Smith fractured a man’s cheek when he punched him through a car window in August in what the judge described as a ‘cowardly attack’.
A second attack by Smith took place in September outside Prezzo, in St Andrews Road, Exmouth, where the defendant punched a contract worker in the face, leaving him scarred for life.
The court heard Smith claimed he had been acting in self defence each time.
Smith attacked driver Mark Stevens on August 13, punching him through his car window, knocking off his glasses, fracturing his cheekbone.
The court heard Smith approached the victim’s car in Dukes Crescent, Brixington, after the defendant’s group of friends began acting aggressively. One stood in front of Mr Steven’s vehicle and refused to move.
Words were exchanged and Smith attacked Mr Stevens after the driver remonstrated with him
A second attack on September 11 left contract worker Mark Bellamy with a permanent scar under his eye from Smith’s punch to his right cheek.
Mr Bellamy had been carrying out overnight repairs at Prezzo, in St Andrew’s Road, when Smith and friends started goading the contractor by kicking his van.
The gang left then reappeared an hour later and Smith was seen lying on the van’s bonnet.
When he was challenged, the defendant reacted with aggression and became threatening.
Smith went to back of the van and was seen bouncing around like a boxer, shouting abuse.
Smith punched Mr Bellamy, who fell to the floor and suffered bleeding beneath his eye, needing A&E treatment.
Mr Bellamy’s victim statement said he had been left with a permanent and noticeable scar ‘just for his (Smith’s) entertainment’.
“It’s ridiculous to be left with such a serious injury for something so trivial,” Mr Bellamy said.
He said: “I did nothing to deserve this. I have ended up with a lifelong scar for his entertainment.”
The court heard both victims were goaded by two other youths before Smith launched his attacks.
The second attack came hours after Smith stood before magistrates on a drugs offence.
Exeter Crown Court was told dad-of-two Smith had 18 previous convictions in relation to 50 offences – including assaulting two police officers – first appearing before Magistrates aged 14.
Mr Lee Bremridge, defending, said Smith had gone through the care system ‘through no fault of his own, but the fault of circumstances’ and experienced spells of homelessness.
Smith veered towards ‘negative’ influences and substance use, resulting in violent behaviour, said Mr Bemridge.
The court was told Smith was a ‘complex young man who’s had a very difficult and chaotic upbringing’.
Mr Bembridge said Smith had already completed a painting a decorating course while in custody and planned to take level II painting and decorating, plus carpentry and bricklaying courses, with the hope of turning his life around on release.
Mr Bembridge said his client had also enrolled on a behavioral change course and healthier living course, which addressed attitude, with the intention of becoming a good role model for his two sons, aged three and eight months.
Mr Bembridge said: “He went through the care system and didn’t have the care and support so many men of his age do.
“He’s a young man who has the incentive and potential to change.”
Judge Peter Johnson jailed Smith for a year and five months, to be released on licence and supervision after serving half his sentence.
The judge told Smith: “You have been given chance after chance and to a large extent you have thrown the assistance you were offered back in the face of those who were offering it.”