Fiancee’s dad knocked out in Burnley family fall-out

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A FATHER-OF-TWO who attacked his fiancee’s father and knocked him unconscious in a family fall-out, has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Andrew Eccles (43) had called victim Philip Duvall “geriatric”, before he headbutted him and floored him at the defendant’s home in Burnley.

Mr Duvall, who may have banged his head on the fireplace as he fell, was then kicked by Eccles. He had to go to hospital and was found to have a deep, 4cm gash on his forehead.

Burnley Crown Court was told how Mr Duvall was assaulted when his daughter, Keeley Eccles, wanted to leave her home after a row with her partner. She had asked her parents to pick her up. They had attended and the victim had told Eccles not to be verbally abusive to his daughter.

The defendant, of Allerton Drive, Burnley, admitted assault causing actual bodily harm, in June, last year.

He was given nine months in prison, suspended for a year, with 12 months’ supervision.

Prosecutor Mr David Traynor said when the Duvalls arrived at the defendant’s home, the argument was still going on, and the defendant was described as “mouthing off”.

Eccles was abusive towards their daughter, called her selfish and the victim stepped in.

The defendant then branded the victim geriatric and asked him: “What are you going to do?”

The prosecutor said Mr Duvall was then attacked.

The Duvalls left, called the police and Eccles was arrested. He was very aggressive when officers arrived.

Mr Traynor said the defendant and his partner were still together, and the victim wanted to put it behind him.

Mr Daniel Thomas (defending) said he and Mr Duvall had resolved the matter.

The defendant, who had not offended for 20 years, was unlikely to trouble the courts again. The couple’s third child was on the way.

Mr Thomas said Eccles was unable to work because of an accident, and had suffered from depression. He said he had gone into a downward spiral with his mental health and finances.

The barrister said Eccles knew he had gone over the top. He added: “It would be a devastating disposal if he was sent into custody.”

Judge Jonathan Gibson told the defendant his behaviour in seriously over-reacting did seem broadly out of character and added: “You are perfectly capable of living a law-abiding life.”