A judge has castigated three young men for being “thugs” who carried out a sadistic homophobic attack in Harrogate.

Judge Paul Hoffman handed down an indeterminate sentence to Craig Grant, 20, and Carl Rutherford, 18, ordering a minimum term of four-and-a-half years before elidgability for parole for stamping on the head of a 42-year-old gay man in Harrogate’s Valley Gardens, leaving him with brain damage.

Earlier in the week they were convicted of a knife-point robbery. Rutherford’s twin brother was sentenced to five years for the attack but not the robbery.

All three had pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent to the unnamed gay man on the 8th January 2007. The court heard that the man appeared to have made sexual advances to one of the men.

Simon Kealey, prosecuting, said: “They beat him with fists and stamped on his head.”

Judge Hoffman told the defendants: “Nobody could have been surprised if he had not survived. You are thugs. There is not an ounce of decency in any of you.”

He told Grant and Carl Rutherford:”During the course of the trial I have had an opportunity to look at both of you and you have impressed me. You have impressed me as being totally oblivious to the harm that you have done and totally remorseless.

“You have been laughing and joking and sniggering and have shown scant regard for this court. You came over to me and to the jury as young thugs with precious little chance of changing your ways.”

The victim spent two months in hospital.