Jaw-break attack ruined wedding

Steve Hart
Steve Hart

A youth who punched a pub landlord in the face, smashing his jaw in two places, has walked free from court.

The attack happened just days before the victim was due to fly to Las Vegas for his wedding and while the couple still went ahead with their plans the event was “ruined.”

Liverpool Crown Court heard the attacker, 19-year-old Martin Hastings, had been found by licensee Stephen Hart with a bottle of vodka he had brought with him and smoking cannabis by a side door of the pub.

Hastings had spent the evening in the Springfield Hotel on Springfield Road, with friends on October 18 last year, including under-age girls, and it was around midnight Mr Hart heard noises by the side door of the premises.

Frank Dillon, prosecuting, said there had been difficulties in the past with teenagers smoking cannabis at the rear of the pub.

Mr Hart went outside to tell them the pub was closing and not to disturb local residents with their noise.

“He asked them to bring their drinks inside and finish them and Hastings said he would ‘just finish his joint first’,” he said.

Mr Hart saw he had a bottle of vodka and took it from him thinking he had taken it from the pub but realising it had come from a discount store instead gave it back, said Mr Dillon.

When he told him he could not bring his own alcohol into the pub Hastings became aggressive and Mr Hart said he could not come back in and made it clear he was annoyed but was not hostile or aggressive.

“Suddenly and without warning the defendant lashed out and hit him full on the face. He didn’t see it coming, the blow was solid and hard and knocked him backwards. He had been hit on the chin and the pain was intense and blood was coming from his mouth,” said Mr Dillon.

“He went back into the pub and rang the police but they did not come until the following morning.”

That morning he went to Wigan A&E and learnt his jaw was broken in two places. He was transferred to Manchester Royal Infirmary and after three days underwent surgery to have metal plates inserted.

Hastings was traced via Facebook and when shown his photo as the possible culprit the victim identified Hastings, who was even wearing the same clothing.

When interviewed, Hastings claimed he had acted in self-defence fearing he was going to be struck.

In an impact statement Mr Hart told how he was due to fly to Las Vegas for his wedding days later and was able to go but had trouble eating.

“The holiday was completely ruined,” he said, adding that facially he had had “no feeling other than a horrible tingling in his lower face.”

He has been told that because of the nerve damage it will take 18 months, if at all, before the feeling in his face comes back.

During his 30 years in the licensed trade he had never employed door staff but was now thinking of doing so and he is afraid of being struck again.

Plasterer Hastings, of Duke Street, Swinley, pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm.

The judge, Recorder Mark Ainsworth, sentenced him to ten months detention suspended for 12 months, ordered him to pay his victim £1,200 compensation at £100 a month and carry out 150 hours unpaid work.

He also imposed a curfew with an electronic tag for three months between 10pm and 5am.

The judge said that he had considered sending him straight into custody but took into account that he had never been in trouble before and is a hard-working man.

Anthony O’Donohoe, defending, said that Hastings had drunk vodka and beer that night and smoked cannabis. “He lost his temper when the landlord was speaking to him.

“It was a single blow which he regrets and he would like to apologise for what he did,” he added.