Extreme violence thug jailed for Westward Ho horror attack at care property

Drew Davey has been jailed for extreme violence
Drew Davey has been jailed for extreme violence -Credit:Devon & Cornwall Police

A drunken thug launched a horrifying attack on two vulnerable men living in sheltered accommodation after they found him sleeping in a shed. Drew Davey pummelled his victims with a broken broom handle while shouting "Do you know who I am?"

When police arrived at the scene they found two men covered in blood on the floor. They both suffered brain injuries as a result of the severe unprovoked violence dished out by Davey at premises in Westward Ho!

The 25-year-old ran from the building but was found a short time later hiding behind bushes. He said he had drunk eight cans of lager and could not remember the extreme violence.

The defendant, of Greenbank Road, Barnstaple, was originally charged with two counts of attempted murder. But the court in Exeter accepted his guilty pleas to the lesser offences of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and assault causing actual bodily harm to a care worker who came to help.

Davey, now aged 26, said he was sorry and was sentenced to 10 years. The judge imposed a further three years to be served on licence due to the danger he poses.

Dan Pawson-Pounds, prosecuting, said the incident happened in the early hours of August 15, 2023. Davey had been drinking the previous day and had argued with his partner, the court heard.

At about 10pm he was acting aggressively in Tesco Express, making threats, shoplifting, rolling on the ground and acting erratically. Just before midnight police were called to reports of him being drunk in public but he was gone by the time they arrived.

Just after 1am a support worker at an assisted living property on Golf Links Road, was woken by a light in the kitchen. As he pushed open the door he was hit in the face. He did not see his attacker but when he went further into the kitchen he saw Davey standing over one of the residents repeatedly hitting him in the face with the broken plastic broom handle.

The handle was about 5-7 inches long and a "fixated" Davey was using it in a stabbing motion with full force with the point downwards, said Mr Pawson-Pounds. "He saw Davey hit the man in the face ten to 15 times," added the prosecutor.

Both men were covered in blood. Davey was challenged but gave no response. He repeated the words: "Do you know who I am?" and that his brothers were coming to kill the injured man. The care worker left the room to call police and when he returned saw the second man lying face down in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor.

"He was unsure if he was still alive," said Mr Pawson-Pounds. Davey was still striking the other victim, increasing his force each time he moaned for help. Davey held the man down with one hand while inflicting the blows with the other. The care worker could see blood spurting from the man's head and feared he would be killed.

Davey stopped hitting the man briefly but only to kick the other injured victim. The care worker said he tried to help but the level of violence was so extreme he feared for his own safety.

Mr Pawson-Pounds played body-worn footage of the police arriving at the scene. He warned those in the public gallery that the video contained graphic images of the injured men on the ground.

As a police officer entered the kitchen she could be heard to say, "Oh my God," before calling for more resources.

Davey was still at the scene. He lied about them fighting each other before running out of the door. He said: "They're all going mad. They were fighting, going mad."

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One of the victims was airlifted to Derriford and spent several weeks in hospital for broken bones to his face and bleeding on the brain. The other was treated at North Devon District Hospital for bleeding on the brain and fractures to his face.

Neither victim can remember the assault. They are both vulnerable adults with physical and mental health needs who were making good progress at the accommodation before the attacks.

The mother of one said in a statement: "I feel devastated for my son. The attack happened in his own home where he was happy and felt safe. He did not have the ability to defend himself."

The mother of the other man said his mobility is now even more restricted and he struggles to hold a conversation.

Davey did not know any of the people he attacked. The only memory one of his victims had is that they were having a cigarette outside when they heard a man snoring in the shed. When they woke him he started hitting them.

Anna Vigars KC, defending, said Davey had not deliberately targeted the accommodation or gone out looking for violence. She said he is ashamed and sorry for his behaviour and wants help. His father left when he was young and he was the victim of a serious assault himself two years ago.

The court was told he has previous convictions for assaulting police but nothing this serious.

Judge Stephen Climie said it has been an "extreme incident of violence". He told Davey: "You may very well have been disturbed but it is almost incomprehensible what was going on in your mind when you attacked these two men as you did. It was a sustained, unprovoked attack on two vulnerable strangers and resulted in very serious injuries."

Davey must serve two thirds of his 10-year sentence behind bars. He will remain on licence and at risk of returning to prison for a total of 13 years.

Deputy Senior Investigating officer DS John Crewe said afterwards: "My team and I welcome today’s sentence. Mr Davey subjected three completely innocent members of the public to a horrific, senseless, and brutal attack.

"Two of these men were already extremely vulnerable and it was luck more than judgement that these two men in particular didn’t lose their lives. They were left with severe injuries leaving them both in hospital for a number of weeks thereafter and with a catalogue of ongoing complications.

"I hope this sentence affords these men and their families a sense of justice of which they can try to rebuild their lives. I hope the result also reassures the public that such violent behaviour will not be tolerated, and we will hold offenders to account.

“Finally I would like to pay tribute to my team, and particularly the case officer DC James Punter, whom have collectively worked tirelessly on this investigation to achieve this outcome."