A MAN was repeatedly punched by a gang of robbers while sitting outside Oxford’s historic Bodleian Library.

Three men were sentenced in connection with the brutal city centre attack at Oxford Crown Court yesterday.

Richard Curley, 36, and Daniel Lowing, 41, both of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to the single count of robbery.

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A third man - Clayton Goldstone, 19, of George Street, Banbury, admitted handling stolen goods in relation to the theft of a phone during the robbery.

Curley had also admitted a separate case of dangerous driving and Goldstone admitted an unrelated assault.

Oxford Crown Court heard at their sentencing hearing yesterday how the three men had cycled towards the outside of the Clarendon Building, Broad Street, in the early hours of September 29.

There at about 2am, prosecutor Cathy Olliver said, they spotted a lone man eating a takeaway while sitting on the steps of the historic building.

Victim Aleksei Kurotskin was approached by the men - one of whom was riding a stolen bicycle - and they spoke briefly.

He then walked back up the steps before he was followed and ultimately set upon by Curley and Lowing who began throwing punches to his face.

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Ms Olliver said that members of the public heard ‘screams’ and the victim was then put in a headlock, and while the attack was going on the man’s mobile phone was taken.

The court heard that while Goldstone didn’t participate in any violence he handled the stolen phone and so was sentenced alongside the other two robbers.

The phone was later thrown in some bushes and the three men arrested.

Prosecutors also revealed separate incidents which took place previously, including a case of dangerous driving for Curley which saw him hurtle down 30mph roads at speeds of 70mph before he crashed the car.

That incident took place in St Leonards-on-Sea, West Sussex, in 2016.

Goldstone was also sentenced for an assault which took place in Witney in October 2017.

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During that attack he ‘threw stones’ at his victim which caused injuries that the court heard were ‘serious in the context of the offence’.

While Goldstone has no previous convictions, Curley and Lowing both had a string of crimes to their names, made up of 54 offences for Curley and 68 for Lowing.

In mitigation at the hearing defence barristers all asked for credit in light of their client’s guilty pleas and said the men were ‘remorseful’ for what they had done.

Sentencing, Judge Peter Ross jailed Curley for 52 months and Lowing for four years and one month. Curley was also disqualified from driving for three years.

Goldstone was handed a 13-month jail term, suspended for two years and must complete 30 days rehabilitation activity requirement and 100 hours unpaid work.