Thug and son escape jail sentence after attack in Bedfordshire restaurant

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A Bedfordshire county bowls player was given a suspended prison sentence after he and his father launched an “appalling and disgraceful” attack on two firemen in a restaurant.

Joshua Usher, 28, wiped away tears as a judge told him he and his company director father Stephen, 59, had behaved like thugs and bullies.

Luton Crown Court was told on Tuesday how Stephen grabbed Christopher Swallow while his son punched him.

When the man fell to the floor of the Dew Drop restaurant in Ampthill, curled up in the foetal position Joshua hit him twice with a chair.

Both men then punched Colin Sexton when he went to help his friend.

Mr Swallow suffered a broken nose and bruising. His face was so badly battered he refused to let his four-year-old son see him for a fortnight.

Prosecutor Daniel Siong said the Usher party were all “the worse for drink” in the Chinese restaurant in January this year.

Then somebody made a comment about the two firemen and when Mr Sexton replied, Stephen Usher’s other son Jamie, 29, sparked the fracas by punching him.

Nick de Freitas, defending, said both men were remorseful and disgusted with themselves. They both pleaded guilty.

He claimed Stephen Usher, of Ampthill Road, Silsoe, was being “over protective” of his family. Mr de Freitas argued he hadn’t caused Mr Swallow’s injuries – he had only held him while his son punched him.

He added: “Mr Usher is ashamed he didn’t set a better example to his sons. He has been violent in the past, but he has mended his ways.”

Mr de Freitas said thatJoshua, “couldn’t believe” it when he saw CCTV of what he did to Mr Swallow. He voluntarily went for counselling on anger management.

Mr de Freitas said: “Joshua is conscientious, caring and supports the local community. He is very stressed about his predicament.”

Stephen Usher, who has nine previous convictions and was once sentenced to three years in jail for wounding, was given a 16-month prison sentence suspended for two years. Joshua Usher, of Broadway, Houghton Conquest, was given. 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years.

Both men must do 250 hours of unpaid work, abide by a 9pm to 6am curfew for three months, pay £500 compensation and £335 costs.