Man punched OAP after queue row

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A fellow customer smashed a pensioner in the face, breaking his nose, after the victim complained about a long queue in Argos.

Slaughterman Nile Martin (21), who was waiting behind him, challenged 70-year-old Albert Ray to a fight and then followed him from the store in Colne, after the frightened victim thought it best to leave.

The defendant squared up to Mr Ray and then punched him, breaking his glasses - which gashed his skin - and knocking him to the ground. He then walked off, leaving his bleeding victim to be tended to by horrified customers and staff.

Burnley Crown Court heard Martin was arrested because one onlooker had followed him to his home and gave police his address. He couldn’t explain to officers why he had done it and claimed he had not wanted a fight with the victim.

The defendant walked free from court after Judge Beverley Lunt said he now had a job and came from a good and supportive family.

The defendant, of Regent Street, Nelson, had admitted assault causing actual bodily harm. He was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for a year, with 12 months’ supervision. Martin was ordered to pay £400 compensation and £250 costs.

Prosecutor Cecilia Pritchard told the court Mr Ray had been in Argos and had just joined “rather a large queue.” He was a little bit impatient and remarked on it. The defendant was there with his mother.

For some reason Martin was “askance” at what was said, told the victim “Come on, come on then,” and was being very aggressive.

When the victim left the store, to avoid further problems, the defendant squared up to Mr Ray and punched him in the face, making contact with the right side of his nose. The victim fell backwards, hitting his head on the shop window.

Miss Pritchard said Mr Ray went to hospital and was found to have a fractured nose. He had also suffered cuts to the side of his nose where his glasses cut the skin.

Miss Pritchard said when questioned, Martin claimed he followed Mr Ray because he wanted to apologise. He did accept he punched him to the face, although he claimed that Mr Ray pushed him.

Richard Taylor (defending), said Martin had limited abilities and limited intelligence, but despite that he was a working member of the community.

Mr Taylor said the defendant’s mother had been alarmed and shocked by his behaviour, as was everybody else who witnessed it.

He said : “The defendant also appeared baffled by what he had done, unable to explain himself, simply expressing shame to the people who interviewed him.”

Passing sentence, Judge Beverley Lunt told Martin: “On what planet a 21-year-old youth such as you would behave aggressively towards a 70-year-old man, I have no idea.

“It makes absolutely no sense. He’s a complete stranger, he’s plainly significantly older than you and what you did was nothing short of disgraceful.

“I find that totally inconceivable, to leave a man bleeding, because of what you did, on the street.”