The rapper Pa Salieu has been jailed for his part in an attack on a lone victim, shortly after his best friend was fatally stabbed.
Salieu, a BRIT Awards nominee who was named the BBC’s Sound of 2021, was jailed for two years and nine months, despite a judge accepting that he had “done a good deal more than just behave himself” since the attack in Coventry town centre four years ago.
The 25-year-old Coventry-based artist had earlier admitted a charge of violent disorder, having been caught on CCTV hitting the victim with a tree branch a number of times.
The victim, 23, spent 10 days in hospital recovering.
Salieu – who appeared in court under his real name, Pa Salieu Gaye – was acquitted in March of a second violent disorder charge relating to a mass brawl nearby just minutes earlier, which had led to the death of his friend Fidel Glasgow, 21.
But he was convicted of possessing a bottle as an offensive weapon, telling jurors at Warwick Crown Court that he had smashed and brandished it to defend himself.
No one has been charged with the murder of Mr Glasgow, who was the grandson of The Specials singer Neville Staple, in the early hours of 1 September, 2018.
On Friday, Judge Peter Cooke told Salieu: “Anyone harbouring the view that you are a young man being hard done by should pause to reflect that despite having a conviction for carrying a knife three years earlier – which resulted in a suspended sentence – in the course of these events you used two bottles and a stick.
“It was your intention to turn a bottle into a jagged weapon.”
Judge Cooke said Salieu and others had acted like a “mob”, adding: “If you do that somebody is likely to end up seriously injured or dead.
“What happened to Fidel could have happened to anyone in that melee.”