Two men who assaulted a disabled Bolton Wanderers fan have been jailed.

Trevor Howard, aged 39 and Brian Power, aged 44, assaulted Johnathan Morris on August 1, 2021, outside the Olympus Restaurant on Newport Street.

Howard, of Whitford Walk, Blackrod, and Power, of St Ann Street, Halliwell, attacked him in the street, kicking, punching and throttling him on the pavement and in the middle of the road.

Mr Morris, aged 28 at the time but now 30, has Noonan Syndrome, a condition similar to Down’s Syndrome.

Howard and Power were sentenced for assault occasioning actual bodily harm at Bolton Crown Court.

Prosecuting, Rachel White said: “The victim, Jonathan Morris, was 28 years old. He was visiting Bolton town centre on August 1 when he received threatening messages from Power, saying ‘come see me, don’t annoy me if you know what is good for you’.

“Mr Morris drank in a number of public houses and travelled from Farnworth to Bolton on the bus.”

The Bolton News: Johnathan Morris after the attackJohnathan Morris after the attack (Image: Family)

He then received calls during the journey from a friend of his, and they arranged to meet at Olympus Chip Shop.

Ms White said how, when he got to Olympus, he was attacked by the pair.

She said: “The victim was punched to the floor and was kicked in the head and placed in a chokehold in the middle of the road.

“CCTV footage shows Power wiping blood from his arms.”

She added that footage showed the pair “loitering” near to the scene of the assault prior to it happening.

Mr Morris was taken to hospital following the assault, had a haemorrhage in his left eye and struggled with his sight for two weeks.

Howard has previous convictions for driving-related offences, as did Power, including for battery and false imprisonment.

The Bolton News: Brian PowerBrian Power (Image: GMP)

At police interview, Mr Morris said he believed that he had been “set up”.

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Huw Edwards, defending Howard, said: “The defendant’s recollection of the night in question is limited.

“What is seen on the footage is a despicable act, an act which is not in keeping with Mr Howard and how he has lived his life so far.”

Mr Edwards said Howard has expressed remorse for what he did, and pointed to the fact that he cares for his mother, who has lung and heart issues, and has a wife with Crohn’s disease, as mitigating factors. He also highlighted his mental health issues.

The Bolton News: Trevor HowardTrevor Howard (Image: Facebook)

Defending Power, Wayne Jackson highlighted his baby child who remains on a high-dependency unit due to a “heart defect”, having been born at 34 weeks, and his four-year-old child who has cerebral palsy.

He highlighted how it could be difficult for his partner to cater to their needs with Power behind bars.

Recorder Paul Hodgkinson added: “It appears that you have to go back to 2013 before you get to his last offence, and he had effectively turned a corner.”

In the interim between committing the offence, Power got qualifications to work as a railway worker and as a PT, and volunteered with homeless people.

Concluding, Recorder Hodgkinson said: “On August 1, 2021, around 10pm, your victim, Johnathan Morris, was in Bolton town centre. He had gone to meet somebody who he thought was his friend.

“He went to meet him but lying in wait were you two. Mr Morris is a vulnerable man with Noonan Syndrome, with a certain physical appearance which in my view would have been obvious.

“You, Howard, walked up immediately and began to attack him. You rained punches on him and you, Power, followed closely and joined in the attack.

“Mr Morris was punched numerous times, he was kicked in the head and he was taken into the middle of the road and strangled. It seems no matter who did what because it was a joint and premeditated attack on a vulnerable man.”

He added: “Howard, you are 39 and Power you are 44, the pair of you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourselves to behave in that way at your age, it is frankly despicable.”

Although acknowledging their individual circumstances, Recorder Hodgkinson said he felt an immediate custodial sentence was the only “appropriate” punishment for both men.

The Bolton News: Some of Johnathan's family after the hearing. L-R: Sasha Hamilton, Irene Morris, Kirsty Morris and Chelsea WalkerSome of Johnathan's family after the hearing. L-R: Sasha Hamilton, Irene Morris, Kirsty Morris and Chelsea Walker (Image: Newsquest)

Howard, dressed in a grey hoodie and blue jeans, and Power, dressed in shorts and an NFL hoodie, stood as the recorder gave his verdict.

He sentenced each of them to 15 months imprisonment and put in place a restraining order for 10 years.

Mr Morris’ family spoke to The Bolton News following the conclusion of the case. They said that Johnathan has struggled to leave the house in the time since the offence, which was almost three years ago.  

His mother, Irene Morris, said: “He used to go out five nights a week. It took a good amount of time for him to get to that point, but now he is back to square one. He would not even go out and socialise for the first year.

“Now, I drive him, but if I can’t then he has to take taxis everywhere. He used to go on the bus but won’t do that anymore.

“When he goes to Bolton matches, they drop him off at home. Also when he goes to away matches, the coach drops him at home too.

“For Johnathan as a vulnerable person, for two grown men to do that.”

Sasha Hamilton, his sister-in-law, said: “They are bullies, they are not men. Johnathan will be happy for the next seven-and-a-half months, but 15 months is not a long time.”

Johnathan’s sister, Kirsty Morris, said: “I cannot get my head around why they did it, they have not even given a reason for why they did it.”