Student night ends in court

Crime story
Crime story

A YOUNG man sat in the dock with his head bowed as a court watched CCTV footage of his “brutish” behaviour while visiting his student friends.

John Rourke, 20, who has no previous convictions, was out in Preston last December when the incident happened.

Preston Crown Court heard Rourke, of Edinburgh Drive, Wigan, was filmed repeatedly punching his victim, Philip Wish, on Church Street, in the mistaken belief he had hit him seconds earlier.

Sentencing Rourke to eight months in a young offender’s institute, suspended for a year, Judge Michael Leeming QC, who watched CCTV footage of the incident, described it as “brutish” behaviour.

Rourke, dressed in a grey suit, sat in the dock with his head bowed while his parents watched proceedings from the gallery.

He pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding on the basis he believed Mr Wish was his perpetrator.

Prosecuting, Hanifa Patel said Rourke went to Preston to visit some student friends on December 12 last year and drank two bottles of wine at their student accommodation. She said: “He then went out drinking in Preston with friends. By the time the offence was committed he was drunk.

“At around 4.15am on December 13 he was with his friend on Church Street.”

She described two separate incidents which were broken up by onlookers. The victim, Mr Wish, was involved in a fracas with another man that was broken up by two men.

Rourke then stepped in to try and break up a second disturbance involving some of his friends, but was struck from behind with a forceful blow by an unknown male.

The court heard as he got up, he saw the victim to his front and assumed he had hit him.

Rourke then punched Mr Wish several times to the head, causing him to stumble, and carried on hitting him.

She added: “The accused accepts his actions went beyond legitimate self defence. His judgement was affected by excessive consumption of alcohol.”

Judge Michael Leeming QC was shown city centre CCTV footage of the incidents, and heard the victim, who did not remember much of the incident, is likely to have a permanent scar.

Defending, Katy Appleton, said he was “very remorseful and deeply ashamed” and “offered his full, unreserved apologies to Mr Wish”.

He was ordered to pay £350 compensation, a £100 surcharge and £170 costs.