TRAVELLERS smashed a man's skull and eye socket with metal bars because he complained that loud music was keeping his children awake.

John Pacer Smith and his brother-in-law Jim Riley Janes were both spared immediate jail sentences despite repeatedly bludgeoning John Mongan in the head and body with metal bars at a traveller site in Worcester.

Father-of-four Mr Mongan was discovered bloody and unconscious on the ground by his partner who rushed out of her caravan in an attempt to stop the beating.

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Pacer Smith, aged 30, of Waterside Park, Offerton Lane, Warndon, Worcester, and Janes, aged 26, of Larch Road, Worcester, both received suspended sentences at Worcester Crown Court yesterday.

Both men admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm on Mr Mongan at Waterside Park in Offerton Lane on May 6 last year.

Two other men were originally charged in connection with the assault and two more with witness intimidation. However, the Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence after discussions took place behind the scenes, avoiding a three-week trial.

The incident began when Mr Mongan asked a relative of Pacer Smith's, Henry Smith, to keep the noise down because he he had been playing loud music 'all day'.

The music was still 'blaring' at 1am and Mr Mongan was concerned his children would not be able to sleep. However, when he spoke to Mr Smith it resulted in an argument.

Michael Aspinall, prosecuting, said John Pacer Smith, known as 'Pacer', arrived with Janes and both appeared to the victim to be drunk.

When Mr Mongan attempted to raise the issue of the noise, Janes attempted to put his arms around him.

Mr Aspinall said: "At some point Pacer grabbed a metal bar about five feet long and swung it at Mr Mongan. It missed but hit the fence."

Mr Mongan told Pacer 'we will fight in the morning' and returned to his caravan but found he could not sleep, getting into his Ford Mondeo in the early hours to go to the shop and buy cigarettes.

He saw Pacer's van 'out of the corner of his eye' reverse at him, striking the front driver's side of his car.

As he got out Janes hit him to the left side of his head with a metal bar. Mr Aspinall described how the victim's partner, Charlene Lee, was in bed when she heard two loud bangs.

A neighbour said to her: "They're hitting John!"

Mr Aspinall said: "She saw her partner on the floor next to his car, unconscious. He was surrounded by four or five men who were beating him with bars and shovels. Some were shouting 'take this you Irish b*stard!'"

She pulled her partner towards a car to get him to safety. Mr Aspinall said: "She noticed her partner was bleeding from his ears, head and nose."

His partner also described Pacer smashing the window of Mr Mongan's car and shouting: "I will kill you!"

The victim had bruising 'all over his body', a hairline fracture on the left side of his head and bruising to his hip, leg and calf.

Both defendants declined to answer questions in interview and Pacer gave a prepared statement saying he was 'not involved'.

In a victim personal statement Mr Mongan said he was assaulted by 'six people' and suffered a 'fractured eye socket, fractured skull and bruising all over my body'.

He sustained 15 separate injuries in the attack and spent three days in hospital. Mr Mongan, who has now moved off the site, had to take painkillers and complained of dizziness, not being able to do anything with his children and of feeling paranoid.

"I'm worried people will come to get me and smash up my caravan with my kids inside" said Mr Mongan.

The starting point in the sentencing guidelines for a category one offence was agreed by all sides to be three years in prison with a range available to the sentencing judge of between two and a half and four years.

Raj Punia, for Pacer Smith, said her client had served the equivalent of a 14 month sentence already after Judge Andrew Lockhart QC withdrew the defendant's bail on May 15.

Pacer Smith had also spent 161 days on a qualifying curfew.

Mis Punia said: "When that happened (his bail being withdrawn) Mr Pacer Smith was distraught. He was in floods of tears at the thought he was going to be locked up and kept away from his family and had not been prepared for it."

Judge Jim Tindal described Pacer Smith as 'the instigator and aggressor', identified as a 'high risk offender' by the probation service.

However, the judge said an immediate custodial sentence would have an effect upon Pacer's family and added: "You know now what huge consequences it (custody) would have for your family."

The judge sentenced Pacer Smith to two years in prison suspended for two years and 40 rehabilitation activity requirement days. He sentenced Janes to 18 months in prison suspended for two years and placed him on an electronically tagged curfew for three months between 8pm and 5.30am daily.

He must also complete 150 hours of unpaid work and pay a £300 contribution towards costs.

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