Lout attacked men with dog chain

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A “DRUNKEN” lout who used a dog chain as a “ knuckle duster” and attacked two innocent men has kept his freedom.

Burnley Crown Court heard how angry Christopher Varley claimed he had been assaulted about half an hour before and thought one of the victims looked like the man responsible. He punched one man twice after wrapping the chain around his wrist and hit the other over the head with a street sign. Neither was seriously injured.

Varley, who was traced through DNA from his blood on one of the victim’s tops, had more than 30 offences on his record.

The defendant (23), of Towneley Street, Brierfield, had admitted two counts of common assault and one of possessing an offensive weapon and had been committed for sentence by Pennine magistrates. He was given a 12 month community order, with supervision, the Thinking Skills programme and 120 hours unpaid work.

The court was told when the defendant had been arrested, he told police he had been “jumped” by a man, had been knocked out and had suffered facial injuries which bled. He said he and two friends went out dog walking and he was intent on finding his attacker. Varley said he had come across the two victims and thought one of them looked like the man who assaulted him. The defendant said he had been drunk and angry. He had 33 previous convictions.

For Varley, Mr Simon Gurney said he could have no complaint if he was sent to immediate custody.

He had owned up and limited injuries were caused. The defendant had been to prison since the offences were committed. Despite all the sentences that had been tried with the defendant, he had never been given the chance to go on the Thinking Skills programme. The barrister continued: “This is a young man who plainly needs that sort of assistance. It’s to be hoped if he is given this chance and if he can take it, it will allow him to put this sort of offending behind him.”

Sentencing, Recorder Geoffrey Lowe said the two victims had been entirely innocent, although the defendant thought one of them might be his assailant. He continued: “Clearly they were not. Clearly, you were looking for trouble.”

The judge said Varley had a “vast number of previous convictions” and was responsible for impulsive, often drunken behaviour. He told him: “You are, it seems to me, a young man who resorts to violence, is capable of violence, literally at the drop of a hat.”