Dursley 'hard man' jailed for attack on suspected arsonist

A DURSLEY 'hard man' who led an attack on a suspected arsonist has been jailed for a year.

Ashley Harney, known as 'Basher' in his community, believed Alex Pye had set fire to a friend's house, Gloucester Crown Court heard.

He recruited two other men to join him in taking Pye prisoner so he could subject him to a 20 minute ordeal of violence, the court was told.

A couple of days later Harney went to attack Pye again when he was helping with some gardening at his mother's house.

The court heard that since the offences Pye has been charged with arson and is awaiting proceedings to commit him to the crown court on November 13.

Harney, 23, of Frederick Thomas Road, Dursley, Rafael Faria, 19, of Water Street, Dursley, and Thomas Allen, 19, of Westend, Cam, all admitted falsely imprisoning Alex Pye between March 6 and 9 this year.

Harney also admitted assaulting Mr Pye causing him actual bodily harm between the same dates and he admitted a further charge of affray between March 10 and April 20.

Judge William Hart jailed Harney for a year and he gave Faria and Allen 32 week detention sentences suspended for 15 months. He also ordered them to do 120 hours of unpaid work.

Lisa Hennessy, prosecuting, said that in March Harney was 'looking for retribution' after the alleged arson attack.

"Harney is known as Basher and has something of a reputation as a local hard man," she said. "On March 7 he went to Mr Pye's home and picked him up. Faria drove the car and Allen was in a second car."

Pye was driven to a house where, for the next 20 minutes, he endured a "very violent beating" by Harney and an unidentified second man, Mrs Hennessy said.

Two days later he was in his mother's garden with others when Harney turned up shouting loudly. Pye fled and tried to climb over a fence but Harney dragged him back and demanded a confession to the arson.

He even took out his mobile phone to record a confession.

Kannan Siva, for Harney, said: "Harney accepts he took the law into his own hands but his objective was to persuade Pye to go the police and confess."

Harney's parents would both miss him while he is in jail because he helps care for them both. His mother has agoraphobia and has drink problems while his father has osteoporosis and arthritis and Harney is his carer, said Mr Siva.

The judge told Harney: "You seem to have developed something of a reputation in your area for unpleasant and violent behaviour. There are signs you are capable of growing out of it and I hope when you have completed your sentence you will."

The judge told the other two defendants "You were undoubtedly led into this by the malign influence of Mr Harney."

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