Two jailed for racial assault on Asian-origin shopkeeper

Philip Ballard (L) and Robert Ballard.
Philip Ballard (L) and Robert Ballard.

TWO brothers who went on a thieving spree and physically assaulted a shopkeeper were sentenced to more than seven years in jail between them.

Brothers Robert and Philip Ballard racially abused another shopkeeper on the same day after picking up bottles of wine from his store.

Judge Menary, QC sentenced Robert, 29, for four years, two months and 27-year-old Philip for three years and three months.

Liverpool Crown Court heard how the thieving brothers broke the teeth and jaw of Asian-origin shopkeeper Harish Kanthasamy when he tried to stop them from stealing a bottle of wine from the sub-post office on College Street, St Helens on May 18.

David Birrell, prosecuting, said: “Philip elbowed Mr Kanthasamy to the head. It was a forceful blow, which knocked him to the ground.

“According to Mr Kanthasamy, ‘It was a really good elbow, I did not expect it. His elbow connected really hard with the left side of my face’.”

The brothers didn’t stop there, Birrell added.

“After making off with the wine, Robert returned to the shop and assaulted Mr Kanthasamy by punching twice, once to the head and once to the hand, as Mr Kanthasamy raised his hands to protect himself.

“It was a cowardly attack – the shopkeeper was still on the ground having been knocked over by Philip Ballard moments earlier.”

Earlier in the day, the two had picked up a case of beer from McColls on Cambridge Road without paying.

They returned to the store after the post office attack to steal a bottle of cider.

Later, they robbed the Best One store on Cambridge Road of two bottles of wine.

Robert threatened shopkeeper Ajeeshkumar Sathyarakan who pursued them outside the store by raising a wine bottle over his head and saying “f****** p***, I’m going to smash this bottle of wine on your head”.

Philip said they were going to “rob all the P*** shops” and both kept racially abusing him.

Police arrested the brothers from Ansty Close, St Helens, at a property on Albion Street.

In an impact statement, Kanthasamy said the attack left him with a sore face, throbbing head and broken teeth.

“The whole incident makes me upset. I work hard, 17 hours a day, and these people just come and break my teeth and my jaw and take things that don’t belong to them,” he said. “I will never forget their faces or what they have done.”

The brothers pleaded guilty to various offences, including racially aggravated harassment.

The defence barristers said both had a troubled childhood.

Paul Treble, defending Philip, said: “His response to his upbringing was to drink alcohol to excess, and he needs to stop drinking.”

Zillah Williams, for Robert, said: “He is now completely drug-free and wants to get on with his life when released.”