A gang of thugs who kicked a 14-year-old 'like a football' because he had ginger hair have been jailed for a total of 10 years.
The schoolboy had been playing football with his friends when Nathan Booth, 22, approached him and asked him for the time. He then violently kicked the defenceless teenager, with his brother Callum, and friend James Hatton weighing in too.
The boy's injuries were so severe he needed surgery to have a metal plate inserted in his skull. He also suffered a broken arm as he tried to protect his head from the gang's brutal kicks.
Lincoln Crown Court heard that the threesome were seeking revenge after another red-headed boy had verbally abused Booth's sister.
The injured boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the hearing that he was 'kicked like a football' by the trio.
Gareth Weetman, prosecuting, said that Nathan Booth took the lead and hit the boy after he got out his phone to check the time.
"He recalls the group of three piling in on him. He remembers the stamping of feet and curled up," Mr Weetman told the court.
Callum Booth, 27, and James Hatton, 25, were each jailed for 26 months after all three attackers admitted causing the grievous bodily harm to the boy.
Judge Sean Morris told the trio: "There was no reason for this attack, worse than that it was just because he had red hair."
Nathan Booth carried out two further unprovoked assaults within six months of being out on bail for his attack on the boy. In one, he repeatedly punched a woman and twice kicked her in the face after becoming involved in a domestic row, and in the second, he broke a stranger's jaw during an attack in a McDonalds near Lincoln University.
Booth was jailed for five years and nine months, with judge Morris telling him: "One day if you are not careful young man you are going to kill somebody. You have been beating up children, beating up women, that is the mark of a coward."