Dad knocked out ex-workmate with single punch

Burnley Magistrates' Court.
Burnley Magistrates' Court.

An electrical engineer left an ex-work colleague with a smashed collar bone after he punched him in the face and knocked him out cold, a court was told.

Burnley magistrates heard how David Atkinson suffered the break falling to the ground when he was hit by Craig Peter Conway (32) outside a taxi office in the town on December 20th.

Mr Atkinson, who was in severe pain over Christmas and New Year, had to undergo surgery to have a pin inserted into his shoulder and faces a further operation this month. He also had a swollen eye and was embarrassed about his young daughter seeing his injured face.

Conway, said to have been verbally abused by his victim before the violence, told police it “flicked a switch” with him and he hit Mr Atkinson.

The defendant, of Suffolk Avenue, Burnley, admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm on Mr Atkinson, and was bailed until April 30th, for a pre-sentence report.

Tracy Yates, prosecuting, said members of the public went to help Mr Atkinson, who was out cold on the pavement.

The defendant came out of the office again, looked at the victim and touched his face. Police arrived and the defendant was arrested.

He was cautioned and said: “I’m not going to lie. I hit him.” Conway admitted he had been drinking and claimed Mr Atkinson had approached him and was in his face.

He said he told the victim to go away, he didn’t and said something nasty to him.

The defendant told officers after he struck Mr Atkinson he went to make sure he had not swallowed his tongue. Conway said he didn’t mean to cause any serious injury.

Miss Yates said Mr Atkinson had to have his injury in a sling for several weeks and was in considerable pain.

He had been told he could suffer more severe pain after the operation to remove the pin later this month and the court heard the victim was still taking pain killers and would be for some time.

The prosecutor added: “There is an element of provocation, as the victim does appear to have been abusive before the punch.”

Nick Dearing (defending) said Conway had been making his way home, minding his own business when he had been approached by Mr Atkinson, who started to become aggressive towards him.

He tried to get away, but was followed by the victim who continued with his “obnoxious and threatening behaviour”.

He then punched him. The solicitor added: “It’s a non-deliberate injury. It’s a single blow to the face.”

Mr Dearing told the hearing there had been no problems between the two men before or since. There was nothing to suggest Mr Atkinson wouldn’t make a full recovery.

The solicitor said Conway was of “effective good character” and was a family man, with a young son.

He handed the bench a number of character references, which, he said, all described “this chap’s general good nature and positive good character.”