A 25-YEAR-OLD Launceston man who bashed a known sex offender with a brick to the head has been jailed for five years.
Christopher Leigh Wells appeared in Launceston's Supreme Court yesterday and pleaded guilty to the attack, aggravated robbery and arson.
About 2.30am on New Year's Day, Wells and three other men approached a man collecting cigarette butts in Civic Square.
After demanding a cigarette the men took the victim in to a laneway near Henty House.
The man was pulled to the ground and held down as Wells collected a brick.
"You are a paedophile son of a bitch," Wells said before bringing the brick down on his head.
The man pleaded with Wells to stop but was hit over the head several more times.
At some point one of the males with Wells pleaded with him to stop.
"[Wells said] I want to kill him, please let me hit him again to the head," Justice Stephen Estcourt said yesterday. One of the attackers saw the police and the men ran off.
The victim made his way to the Launceston General Hospital where 15 staples were applied to a head wound. About two weeks before, the same victim was bashed and robbed by Wells and a man known only as Peter.
Justice Estcourt said the man had been turned away from City Mission and was told by Wells and Peter that a nearby church had beds.
As they walked past Princes Square Wells told the man to "smell the flowers" in a garden.
As he did so Wells pushed him to the ground and punched his face before Peter began kicking his face.
Both then rifled through his pockets, stealing $75 in cash and $25 worth of tobacco.
The man suffered a fractured arm.
The court heard he now suffers continuing pains in the head, blurred vision, a worsened speech impediment, nightmares and a fearfulness that someone will hurt him in the streets.
On February 11, Wells caused up to $218,000 damage to the Oldaker Street Christian Centre in Devonport by setting it alight.
The court heard he has a mild intellectual disability and psychological issues but did not have a mental illness "as defined by the criminal code".
"He is a deeply troubled man. He has no education but is literate with an IQ of 70," Justice Estcourt said.
"The charges other than the arson were committed against a known sex offender and I take into account the defendant's suffering of ... abuse as a child.
"That of course is not a justification for the commission of those crimes."
He said Wells received a suspended sentence for robbery in June 2012 and was sentenced to prison in Victoria in October 2010.
Justice Estcourt ordered Wells serve three years non parole.