TWO men who set themselves up as ‘vigilantes’ launched a ‘brutal and cowardly’ attack on an entirely innocent third party.

Blackburn magistrates heard David Johnston and another man pushed their way into a Blackburn hostel looking for another man.

He was not there but they assaulted a member of staff before their original target returned and he was savagely beaten.

Johnston, 36, of Hertford Street, Mill Hill, was convicted in his absence of assaulting Mohammed Jamil. He was jailed for 20 weeks by District Judge John Maxwell who described the attack on Mr Jamil as cowardly.

“This was a brutal and cowardly attack by two men setting themselves up as vigilantes. There is zero tolerance for this kind of behaviour.”

Catherine Allan, prosecuting, said Mr Jamil was a voluntary worker at J’s B & B on Bolton Road, Blackburn. Just after midnight he opened the door to Johnston and another man who barged passed him and demanded to know if a man called Carl Lewis was in.

He said he wasn’t and after one of the men had been upstairs Mr Jamal was punched and repeatedly kicked as he lay on the floor.

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CCTV footage showed the attack taking place at the bottom of the stairs and then three men entered through the front door. One of them was repeatedly punched and kicked by both men.

Johnston had originally been charged with assaults on three men. Only Mr Jamal turned up to give evidence at the trial and the other two charges were dismissed.