Exmouth: Judge is dismayed that a prisoner who was freed early started a bar brawl - and sends him back to jail

PUBLISHED: 16:00 09 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:31 09 January 2018

Joshua Hempstead

Joshua Hempstead

Archant

Exmouth: judge’s dismay that prisoner who was freed early started bar brawl. Joshua Hempstead, from Withycombe Raleigh, should still have been in prison serving a previous sentence when he started a fracas in a pub in Exmouth by dropping his trousers and flashing his genitals at a woman. He has been jailed for 18 months for admitting affray.

A judge has expressed dismay that a violent offender from Exmouth was free to start a Wild West style pub brawl after serving just a third of his sentence.

Joshua Hempstead, from Withycombe Raleigh, should still have been in prison serving a previous sentence when he started a fracas in a pub in Exmouth by dropping his trousers and flashing his genitals at a woman.

He used tables, chairs and a pool cue as weapons in the ensuing mass brawl, in which he was caught on CCTV kicking a customer in the head as he tried to get up off the floor.

Hempstead, aged 24, had been jailed for a year on May 23 last year and would normally have been released on about November 23, half way through his sentence.

In fact he was freed on September 22 after serving four instead of six months of the sentence, which was imposed for his part in an attack on three men outside a pub in Sidmouth in October 2016.

On that occasion he and a friend were seen patting each other on the back and high fiving after leaving two of the victims with serious injuries.

Hempstead carried out the new attack in the Manor pub in Exmouth on the afternoon of November 11, 2017, Exeter Crown Court was told.

Hempstead, of Green Close, Exmouth, admitted affray and was jailed for 18 months by Judge Geoffrey Mercer, QC.

The Judge said: “I have no control over when somebody is released after sentence but I expect the public would be fairly shocked to know that someone was released after serving only a third of their sentence.”

He told Hempstead: “You have an appalling record for violence. I sentenced you in May and I am told you were released in September.

“This offence was committed within two months of your release and at a time when you were on licence. This was a disgraceful incident in a public house.

“I accept the violence was not all one way but the incident was started by your behaviour and included hitting others with a pool cue and kicking people when they were on the ground.

“As I said last May, if you continue to commit offences of violence, the sentences will get longer and longer.”

Miss Caroline Bolt, prosecuting, played CCTV footage which showed Hempstead putting a song on the juke box, dancing drunkenly with a friend, then pulling down his trousers and flashing at a woman.

Some other customers remonstrated with him and although someone else threw the first blow, Hempstead was filmed punching and kicking others during the seven minute melee.

There were breaks in the violence in which he went into a pool room and returned with a cue on two occasions and a fire extinguisher on a third.

He was seen throwing chairs and stools and using a piece of wood from a broken chair to batter a man who was lying on the ground, and who suffered a broken arm in the affray.

Miss Kelly Scrivener, defending, said Hempstead suffers from ADHD and needs counselling for the traumatic effect of witnessing domestic violence in his youth.

She said he had been working as a builder but plans to retrain as a chef while in jail. He is also attending courses to deal with his abuse of alcohol.

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