Burnley man jailed for vicious attack on couple by canal

CAGED: Matthew Pollard was jailed for 16 months following a vicious attack on a couple having a quiet drink. (s)
CAGED: Matthew Pollard was jailed for 16 months following a vicious attack on a couple having a quiet drink. (s)

ONE of two brothers involved in “vicious” violence, in which a couple were attacked outside a pub, has been jailed for 16 months.

Father-of-two Matthew Pollard (33) started the trouble by smashing a glass over the head of Richard Nelson, Burnley Crown Court heard. Mr Nelson was said to have been repeatedly bitten in the melee, which also involved Christian Pollard (35).

Matthew Pollard sank his teeth into Mr Nelson’s partner, Kathleen Stephenson’s finger and inflicted a deep cut when she tried to intervene.

Miss Stephenson was also punched in the face and knocked to the ground in the incident, which left her physically sick and traumatised.

She and her partner had been enjoying a quiet drink on a sunny afternoon at The Inn on the Wharf, Burnley, until the drunken, anti-social and intimidating defendants turned up.

The hearing was told Matthew Pollard, who had earlier leapt in the canal, turned on Mr Nelson after taking exception to an innocuous remark made by the victim. He had cut his foot on his second jump into the water and Miss Stephenson had showed concern.

Matthew Pollard, of Berry Street, was locked up. His brother, of Tadema Grove, both Burnley, was spared jail as he is looking after his eight-year-old son, whose mother, the defendant’s former partner, is dying of cancer.

The defendants were convicted of wounding, last May, and Matthew Pollard was also sentenced for assault causing actual bodily harm.

Christian Pollard, a former member of the Armed Forces, was given nine months in prison, suspended for two years, with 12 months supervision.

Sentencing, Recorder John Benson, QC, slammed their behaviour as an “appalling spectacle”. He said Christian Pollard was keeping his liberty only because of his son as the boy would suffer a “double tragedy”.

Martin Hackett, for Christian Pollard, said the incident was ugly, happened out of nothing and caused injury to innocent members of the public. Pollard did not use a weapon but became involved after one was used. The defendant’s former partner was in the final stages of lymphatic cancer and Pollard was the sole carer of their son.

Defending Matthew Pollard, Kevin Preston said he had been “boisterous” and misread the situation when talking to Mr Nelson. Mr Preston said a stretch behind bars would hit those closest to the defendant the hardest. The solicitor added: “He is ashamed of his behaviour. He doesn’t normally drink to excess.”

See Tuesday’s Express for more on this shocking court case - and police reaction to the sentencing