Binge drinker spared jail after breaking man’s jaw

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A BINGE drinker who smashed a man’s jaw in two places in an “unprovoked” attack has walked free from court.

Peter Uttley, who had had a “cocktail” of whatever alcohol was going, punched victim Michael Hoyle once after words were earlier exchanged at a house in Nelson. Mr Hoyle did not appreciate he had been seriously injured at the time, possibly because of the amount of drink he had had and only went for treatment two days later. He had to have surgery to have metal plates inserted into his face and was in hospital for two days, Burnley Crown Court heard.

The hearing was told Uttley apologised to his victim on Facebook the day after he hit him, before Mr Hoyle realised he had been seriously injured and before the police were involved.

Uttley, who has two previous convictions for battery, had been banned from pubs in Nelson and Colne for 12 months under the Pub Watch scheme before he struck and has another year to go.

The defendant (21), of Southfield Street, Nelson, had admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm. He was given 12 months in jail, suspended for two years, with a four-month curfew between 7pm and 7am on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and supervision. He also received a Lancashire Alcohol Specified Activity Requirement.

Miss Sarah Statham (prosecuting) said the victim knew the defendant quite well. He had been drinking, was at a house in Nelson on the evening of January 13th and the pair had a disagreement. Mr Hoyle then intervened in an argument between two other people and was punched by the defendant to the lower jaw. He stepped back, but didn’t fall to the floor. The victim described the assault as completely unprovoked.

Mr Hoyle left the house. On the Sunday morning when he woke up, he was in such pain he went to hospital. His jaw was found to be fractured on two sides and metal plates were inserted to try and fix the break. The victim had to survive on a liquid diet for several weeks, but it appeared the injury had healed successfully. The defendant was arrested and chose to remain silent.

The hearing was told since the assault, the defendant, who had turned more to drink and “bubble” after his relationship with his partner had broken down, had been to Inspire for help.

Miss Zoe Nield, for Uttley, said it was a single blow and was not premeditated. The defendant had shown clear remorse. The barrister added: “He very much regrets causing the injury and indeed apologised to Mr Hoyle through Facebook the next day.”

Sentencing, Recorder Barry Searle told Uttley: “You accept this was serious behaviour and you accept you have a serious drink problem. I have seen cases in my career at the Bar where somebody has punched somebody in these circumstances and they are up for manslaughter. That’s what could have happened here. Fortunately, that’s not the situation.”