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Stourbridge attacker collared by amateur internet detective
3:46pm Tuesday 31st July 2012 in News
A MAN who kicked his victim unconscious after a confrontation in Stourbridge was caught after hours of internet detective work.
Gareth Collins, aged 23, was jailed for 32 months after Wolverhampton Crown Court was told he attacked 24-year-old Greg Beddows and then left comments about the incident on the Facebook website.
Mr Beddows' sister, Samantha, uncovered the damning evidence by trawling through hundreds of photographs after becoming convinced she had met a man answering the description of her brother's attacker.
The 21-year-old amateur sleuth spotted Collins, who had posted a reply to criticism of his attack on her brother which said "Ha! Ha! Sick aren't I? Is he OK? If you know".
Collins was arrested after the information was passed to police.
Warren Stanier, prosecuting, told the court there had been a confrontation in Stourbridge High Street and Mr Beddows took off his shirt and gesticulated towards Collins to come on and fight.
Mr Beddows then chased Collins but fell over badly fracturing his right kneecap.
As he lay injured on the ground, Collins who had also taken off his shirt, took a running kick at his head and he then punched him in the face before running away from the scene.
Mr Beddows was taken to hospital where he underwent surgery to insert a metal plate on his shattered cheekbone.
After his arrest Collins told police officers he had drunk six pints of lager because he was feeling down after losing his job at his uncle's gym and he maintained he had been intimidated by Mr Beddows.
He stressed he had not wanted to get into a fight and added that he had been "showing off" when he made the comments on his Facebook site.
Collins, of Bridgnorth Road, admitted causing grievous bodily harm and was told by Judge Amjad Nawaz it was clear he had been on a two-day "bender" after being laid off from work.
The judge said it was accepted there was a degree of provocation and both men were willing to "engage in violence" but when Mr Beddows slipped and fell Collins knew he was vulnerable.
He told Collins, who had a previous conviction for assaulting a taxi driver, he had to control his temper in the future and said: "Behaviour like this causes fear amongst lawful members of the public who do not want to be confronted by drunken louts."
Amanda Tompkins, for Collins, who is studying for a Sports Diploma, said he had been drinking to excess and underlined the fact that Mr Beddows had instigated the violence "to an extent."
She told the court her client was full of remorse for his actions and accepted he "lost it" when Mr Beddows walked towards him with his shirt off.