Ex-soldier is jailed for street attack

Liverpool Crown Court

Liverpool Crown Court

A former soldier and international boxer knocked a man out with a single punch, a court heard.

James Rigby, 20, was drunk and had taken cocaine - which he confessed made him “angry” - when he launched the unprovoked attack on teacher Christopher Barlow.

Mr Barlow has no recollection of the incident until “he woke up in a pool of blood being treated by paramedics,” said Robert Dudley, prosecuting.

He had suffered a 2cm laceration to his lip which went all the way through into his mouth which needed 10 stitches and a gash to the back of his head where he had hit the ground which also needed 10 stitches.

Rigby, of Maesbrook Drive, Tyldesley, pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm and was jailed for four months.

Judge Robert Trevor-Jones said he had left the victim with numbness and scarring and he is now nervous about going out and had suffered financial loss while unable to work. “You were very drunk and it was a sustained assault. There has to be a custodial sentence,” he said.

As Rigby, who has no convictions for violence, was led to the cells his mum broke down in tears in the public gallery.

Mr Dudley told Liverpool Crown Court the incident happened last September 12 while Mr Barlow was at the Queens public house in Tyldesley with his brother Damien.

His brother came in saying someone had slapped him and Mr Barlow went out to talk to the man. His brother’s girlfriend was outside having a smoke and she said everything was sorted and so he went back outside. His next recollection was waking up being treated by paramedics.

CCTV footage showed Rigby pointing a finger at the victim before grabbing him. Mr Barlow managed to break free and as he pulled away Rigby punched him once knocking him to the floor.

In an impact statement, the self-employed teacher and volunteer football coach said he had been left physically and mentally scarred. He was unable to work for two weeks, losing £560. “He is concerned about football after his doctor told him to be careful because of the head injury,” said Mr Dudley.

When Rigby was arrested he said he had left the Army because of depression. He had been a boxer for five years and had boxed internationally. He said he had gone to apologise to Mr Barlow but his apology was rejected and he “snapped” and punched him.

Tom Watson, defending, said, “He is desperately sorry for what he did. It was an isolated incident and he does not ordinarily behave in this way. It happened when things in his life were not going as he might have hoped.”

He had little focus in his life after leaving the Army and his relationship with his girlfriend had broken down. He tried to kill himself two weeks before the incident and that night he was drunk and had taken cocaine which he admitted makes him angry.

He has since restricted his alcohol intake and has a job waiting for him, he added.