THREE men have been cleared of a violent machete attack, where the victim said he was left covered in blood, in an unprovoked assault.
Nasir Sheikh, 21, of Goodyear Street, Gloucester; 22-year-old Abdi Said of Byron Avenue, Podsmead and Joel Phillips, 19, of Willowbrook Drive, Cheltenham were all cleared by a jury of wounding Steven Hill with intent to cause him grievous bodily harm on April 3, this year.
During the trial at Gloucester Crown Court heard Mr Hill, 31, known as Smooth, said was going back to his Grosvenor Street home in Cheltenham, where he had lived for just three days, when he got attacked by the gang.
He said he was left with blood pouring out of his head and needed seven stitches after being struck by the machete and punched.
But the three men said Mr Hill had become aggressive and was shouting racist abuse at them before he went to his flat and came back with the weapon.
Mr Sheikh said Mr Hill began waving the machete around and he managed to disarm him, before he accidental struck him with the flat side of the weapon, and not the blade, in self-defence.
Defending for him, Sarah Jenkins said to the jury: “Mr Hill said he was confronted by the three men, punched by Mr Phillips and then attacked by Mr Sheikh. He said nothing happened in advance. He says it is a completely unprovoked attack. Why would a group of people go to a flat armed with a knife and then attack him in such a fashion? Are you sure Mr Hill was telling the truth?”
She questioned why Mr Hill told police he had not known any of the men, but a text message had been sent from his phone to her clients previously.
The trial heard the men were arrested by armed police as they got a taxi back to Gloucester following the attack.
Defending on behalf of Mr Phillips, Jason Coulter, told the jury Mr Hill was not being entirely truthful and said his client and Mr Said were outside when the blow with the weapon was delivered.
He said: “They have never had any previous dealings and there is never been any bad blood between them. Nothing emerges as a motive for a gang attack.
“The other two are oblivious to what has happened. Mr Sheikh emerges and they go to the taxi rank and they get in one.
“Mr Phillips admits throwing a punch, but in facts misses and cuts his finger.
“He did not handle or use the machete in any way.”
Defending for Mr Said, Joe Maloney, told the jury: “He offered no actual violence and that was confirmed.
“He accepts being present at the start of the incident, but when it became heated he left the room.”