Nelson man breaks victim’s cheekbone broken in Burnley bar attack

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A LOUT who smashed an innocent man’s cheekbone in a Burnley bar kept his freedom - even though a judge said the public was “sick and tired” of such violence.

Burnley Crown Court had been told how plasterer Paul Mendes struck Christopher Wilcock two hard blows in the face in quick succession, in the unprovoked early hours assault. Mendes, who at first claimed self defence, had known his joiner victim from a gym. He left him needing surgery and scarred after the assault in Bar Code last November, which was captured on CCTV.

Mr Wilcock had to have two metal plates put in his face to hold the bone in place unil it healed and would be permanently scarred where the plates were inserted. He was in pain, couldn’t eat properly and feared the defendant would set about him again.

Mendes admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm. The defendant (24), of Priory Chase, Nelson, was given 12 months in jail, suspended for a year, with 200 hours unpaid work and a three-month 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. He was also ordered to pay £1,500 compensation.

Mrs Sarah Statham (prosecuting) said Mr Wilcock was standing in the bar area when he suddenly felt a sharp pain to his face. He was knocked backwards and turned to see the defendant, who then punched him again.

It was the second blow that caused the injury as Mr Wilcock felt pain in his left cheekbone. The defendant was standing in front of him, shouting: “Come on, come on.” The victim was dazed, got a taxi home and went to the hospital next morning, when he woke up in great pain. His cheekbone was found to be fractured.

The prosecutor said the defendant was arrested and questioned and claimed the victim had been staring at him. He said he had been sober at the time.

Mr Dylan Bradshaw, for Mendes, said he was of positive good character and showed remorse. At the time, the defendant had been grieving over the recent death of his grandmother and had separated from his co-habitee.

The solicitor said: “I have to concede it was a disgraceful assault, in circumstances where there was no justification.”

Sentencing, Recorder Mark Ainsworth told the defendant: “Quite frankly, the public are sick and tired of young men like you who, in drink, cannot control themselves. People should be able to go out at night and enjoy a drink with friends in a bar without the fear of being approached by somebody like you and struck in the face with two hard blows.”