attack victim overwhelmed by support

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A PUB landlord who was left blinded after a vicious attack has spoken out after the three men responsible were told they face lengthy jail terms, including his best friend.

Michael Browne, 53, who manages The Yorkway Motel on the outskirts of Pocklington, was attacked outside the pub with a baseball bat by boxer Sean Craib who was paid to carry out the assault by Mr Browne’s friend Alan Lumley, in a dispute over money.

Craib’s friend Robert Elliott was also paid by Lumley, a former landlord of the motel, to take part in the attack.

Mr Browne was left blinded in one eye and suffered multiple fractures.

He also lost his sense of smell as a result of the attack on 8 July last year.

Since the incident Mr Browne has received a lot of support from family and friends and the people of Pocklington.

He said: “I have had fantastic support.

“People have been calling into the motel. People I don’t even know come in just wishing me well. I’m overwhelmed by it to be honest.

“It has been really difficult. Because of the overwhelming support I have had from people it’s made the journey that much easier.”

During the four-day trial at Hull Crown Court the jury were told the blinding of Mr Browne was the result of a terrible fall out between two former friends who had once holidayed with each other.

The jury heard Lumley, now the landlord of the Laceby Arms in Grimsby, had once employed Mr Browne to run the Yorkway Motel for him and had even retained a holiday snap of them together.

The laptop image was later used to show Craib this was the man he wanted harmed.

Mr Lumley was unhappy Mr Browne had refused to buy the lease from him for £50,000 after giving him a trial running the Pocklington motel. Mr Browne had entered negotiation but then pulled out.

Lumley surrendered the lease to the owners of the building losing a £60,000 investment but Mr Brown kept his job and took over the building.

Lumley never forgave Mr Browne and months after moving on to become the manager of the Laceby Arms he was plotting revenge, the court was told.

He employed Craib as a barman and approached the young Scot. “My boss Alan Lumley asked me to sort something out for him”, Craib told the jury.

Craib added: “He wanted me to give them a kicking. He told me a few times that they were good friends and Mr Lumley was selling his business to Michael Browne and it had cost him £60,000. He spoke about it to all the staff.

“He told me he did not want me to mess about and do the job properly to use a bat or a pole to break Mr Browne’s leg”.

Craib recruited Elliott to be the driver and to lure Mr Browne out of the pub so he could sneak up on him and attack him from behind.

Defence barrister Mark McKone said: “I concede the victim did receive grievous injury, but it is a case that he did not intend for those injuries to be caused.

“Mr Lumley is 55, he has lead a blameless life. He was devastated to hear of the extent of the injuries.”

Detective Constable Phil Croshaw said: “It beggars belief that you would pay someone to inflict an injury on a person you once considered to be a very good friend simply because a transaction never came to fruition. The level of planning in this case was unusual Mr Lumley held a grudge over some period of months.

“Mr Browne has injuries which will live with him for the rest of his life. Anybody who arranges for such activities to take place should be aware of the potential consequences.”

Craib, 21, of Grimsby, and Lumley, 55, both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause Mr Browne grievous bodily harm with intent.

Elliott, 20, of South Killingholme, was found not guilty of the conspiracy charge, but pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm.

Judge Jeremy Baker QC told the defendants to expect custodial sentences later this month.

He warned Lumley that he could face years behind bars.