A GANG of thugs who left a man unconscious in a brutal attack in his own home have been jailed for a total of more than 31 years.
The masked raiders used a sledgehammer to smash their way into the flat and carried out a terrifying assault using a baseball bat, a knife and CS gas.
Neighbours called police who caught the attackers but only after two of them had tried to escape by jumping out of a third-storey window, a court heard.
Today Jason Cook, 29, Jacob Warren-Emanuel, 23, Gary Forbes, 25, and Samuel Jones, 21, are all behind bars.
Southampton Crown Court heard how the men used a sledgehammer to smash their way into Mr Morrell’s flat in Clover Nook, Redbridge, in the early hours of July 8 last year.
They ransacked his home and launched an appalling assault on their victim, the court was told.
He was threatened with a baseball bat and a knife, dragged around his flat and sprayed in the face with CS gas.
Warren-Emanuel, 23, Forbes, 25, and Jones, 21, were found guilty of aggravated burglary following a trial in January.
Cook, 29, of no fixed address, had previously pleaded guilty to the charge.
Sentencing, Judge Gary Burrell QC told the court how Mr Morrell’s life has been turned “upside down” following the attack, and has been suffering from nightmares and night terrors.
He jailed Warren-Emanuel, of North East Road, Sholing, and Forbes, of Sinclair Road, Southampton, for eight years each for their roles in the attack.
Jones, of Wilton Avenue, Southampton, was jailed for seven-and-a-half years after it emerged he was in breach of a suspended sentence for burglary.
Judge Burrell told the men: “You managed to break into his house, disable him and steal the drugs he had. It was you Cook who knew of Mr Morrell. I am quite satisfied it was your idea to go there.
“You took with you white forensic-type suit overalls, which you changed into, no doubt with the view of leaving no scientific trace.
“You were all caught. You Cook and the other man jumped from the bedroom window and tried to escape. It was three storeys high – a reckless act risking death and serious injury.
“Mr Morrell understandably thought he was going to be killed and it was fortunate he sustained no permanent injury.”
Sentencing Cook to 12 years, reduced to eight due to his early guilty plea, Judge Burrell said: “You accept you were responsible for planning the attack.
“If you hadn’t done what you did none of these other young men and their families would be in the position they are in. You caused this.”
Judge Burrell commended the police officers for their quick response to the incident.