THREE young men have been locked up for more than eight years between them following drunken late night attacks on two strangers.

One assailant, Matthew Thomas, was in such a frenzied state in a cell after his arrest from the effect of drink and drugs that he was banging his head against a wall and police had to intervene to stop him from hurting himself.

Southampton Crown Court heard the two incidents happened within a few minutes of each other.

Prosecutor Edward Phillips described how victim Samuel Bennett was walking in the Mansbridge area of Southampton when he was approached by the trio.

Without provocation, Thomas floored him with three punches to the face. They ran off but then the other two, Joshua Robinson and George Hallett, returned and stole his mobile phone, tobacco, a set of keys and £5 in cash.

Shortly afterwards, Thomas approached another stranger, Wayne Simkinson, on the pretext of asking for the time before striking him twice on the back of the head.

He was knocked to the ground where he was repeatedly punched, kicked and had his head stamped on.

Daily Echo: George Hallett

The victim flagged down police on their way to deal with the earlier incident and identified Thomas.

Robinson and Hallett were arrested nearby.

Thomas, 20, of Claude Ashby Close, Southampton, admitted two counts of causing actual bodily harm and was jailed for 32 months.

Hallett, 18, of Walnut Avenue, Southampton, pleaded guilty to robbery and received 27 months.

Robinson, 20, of Wessex Lane, Southampton, also admitted robbery which put him in breach of a 12-month suspended sentence.

Judge Derwin Hope activated six months of that term and jailed him for a total of 38 months.

Daily Echo: Joshua Robinson

The court heard Thomas had 20 previous convictions and Robinson three but Hallett was of previous good character.

Passing sentence, the judge said all three were heavily under the influence of drink and Thomas and Robinson had also taken cocaine.

He described the victims as “vulnerable” as they were walking home alone and condemned the attack on Mr Simkinson as “horrifying”.

“He suffered a split lip but it was extremely fortunate he didn’t suffer more serious injuries.”