Duo admit early-hours assault

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A COUPLE of drunks who attacked two men following a case of mistaken identity have been spared jail.

Matthew Hepworth and Thomas Taylor both admitted their part in a double assault which left friends Michael Mulholland and Keith Pilkington nursing injuries.

Hepworth, 25, admitted assaulting both victims in a flashpoint in the early hours of October 10 last year and Taylor, 20, admitted assaulting Mr Mulholland.

Wigan Magistrates’ Court heard how the defendants had mistakenly believed that the victims had been involved in an argument with them earlier in the night.

Katie Beattie, prosecuting, told how Mr Mulholland and Mr Pilkington had been on a night out in Leigh, before heading to a takeaway and starting to walk home.

As they walked, though, three men started “kicking off” at them.

When they continued walking the three aggressors were joined by five other men.

One of the men punched Mr Mulholland to the left cheek, causing him to fall to the ground, while Mr Pilkington was also knocked over.

CCTV footage also showed that another man was also involved in the assault.

The attackers were subsequently identified as Hepworth and Taylor.

Bob Toppin, defending, admitted it was “an unpleasant incident” but claimed that it was out of character for both defendants.

Magistrates handed Hepworth, of Shelley Drive, Abram, a nine-month community order, a six-week curfew and ordered him to pay £200 compensation, £85 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

Taylor, of Hawkhurst Park, Leigh, must complete a nine-month community order, a four-week curfew and pay £100 compensation, £85 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.