A man who was so drunk he could not remember throwing the punch that broke his victim’s jaw in a Leighton Buzzard street was jailed for 12 months.
But the judge who sentenced him said he would have received 2 years if it were not for the mitigation he had heard. The 43-year-old hit the man in a row over a cigarette in Lake Street. When he was arrested, he told the police he had downed 10 cans of Stella, some Sambuca and had taken cocaine and anti-depressants. He said that on a drunkeness scale of 1 to 10, he was between 8 and 9, Luton crown court heard.
Prosecutor Kevin West said the 21-year-old victim left the Litten Tree pub in Leighton Buzzard between one and half past in the morning. He had drunk a pint of beer, 5 Southern Comforts and Lemonade and a Jack Daniels and coke. He stopped in Lake Street to have a cigarette and was approached by two women. One was the defendant’s wife, who asked for a cigarette. He told the women he was smoking his last one and then felt a blow to the left side of his jaw. “He didn’t see who hit him. He didn’t feel any pain. There was bleeding inside his mouth,” said Mr West.
The man went home and was taken to Stoke Mandeville hospital in Aylesbury by his mother. He was operated on the next day at the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford, where he had two metal plates inserted and was placed on a liquid diet. In a victim impact statement made this April, the victim said his jaw was misaligned. He said he has to be careful when eating, and takes codeine for the pain.
The defendant from Great Billington, Leighton Buzzard pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm on 13 October last year. He had been arrested that night and told officers he could not remember hitting him. He had 13 convictions for 71 offences, but none since 2002. Stuart Sprawson, defending, said the man described what he did as “appalling.” He said that the punch may have been thrown after derogatory remarks were made about his wife.
Mr Sprawson went on: “In a police interview he said he was disgusted with his behaviour and apologises to the injured party. He has shown remorse, admitted the offence and pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. He is old school. He grew up in the 70s and 80s and faces up to his responsibilities. “He said he had not been convicted in the past 12 years.
In 2011 he said his client had been the victim of a serious assault and lost the sight in one eye. “The probation officer said he is still going through the difficulties of disability,” he said. Although he is unemployed he said he does not depend on the state and was trying to set up a parcel delivery business with his wife. In the past he said his wife has suffered problems and the defendant had been an “anchor” for her. Ironically, since the attack the victim and the couple’s son had become friends, he said.
Judge Michael Kay QC said that having heard the mitigation he reduced the sentence he would have passed from 2 years to 12 months. But he told him: “It was an extremely forceful blow which broke the jaw in two places. You were monumentally drunk that evening and you had taken Class A drugs.
“It was a brutal and very forceful attack on him caused by the level of alcohol and drugs inside you.”
“This was a very serious assault in the early hours of the morning in the street.”