April 1, 2019 3.15 pm This story is over 32 months old

Man in court after work do ends in violence

“You have avoided imprisonment by the skin of your teeth”

A man fractured the jaw of a colleague after a works night out ended in violence, Lincoln Crown Court was told.

Frank Richards launched the attack on Ben Fowler moments after asking his colleague to go outside following an incident inside the Deeping Stage pub in Market Deeping.

Edna Leonard, prosecuting, said that Mr Fowler had been laughing and joking with some friends when Richards intervened.

“They worked for the same company. They were on a staff night out. They had been with work colleagues to a barbecue in Market Deeping and then on to the pub.

“Ben Fowler was sitting with others laughing hysterically at some joke or other.

“The defendant thought they were laughing at him or his son-in-law. There was an exchange of words. The defendant became more and more annoyed. He invited Ben Fowler outside.

“Mr Fowler said he was going out for a cigarette anyway. The two of them went into the garden area and the assault took place.”

Miss Leonard said that Richards punched Mr Fowler twice to and then held him down on the ground before another member of the group dragged Richards off.

Mr Fowler did not initially realise he had been seriously injured. He went to his doctor and was subsequently referred to hospital where he was found to have a fractured jaw.

He later underwent an operation and had a metal plate and screws fitted to hold his jaw together.

Richards, 44, of Dalby Court, Welland, Peterborough, admitted a charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm as a result of the incident on June 2 2018.

He was given a 12 month jail sentence suspended for two years with a rehabilitation activity requirement of up to 20 days and 180 hours of unpaid work.

William Powell, in mitigation, said that Richards recognised he had a drink problem and since the incident has taken steps to deal with it.

Mr Powell said: “He was drinking very heavily for many years. Now he is a man who is trying to come to terms with it and deal with the problem.

“He lost his job instantly as a result. The overall effect of this incident was the most horrific family crisis. It was made totally plain to him that it could not go on.”

Mr Powell added: “This was totally unacceptable behaviour but it led to an outcome that was certainly worse than he envisaged at the time.”

Judge John Pini QC, passing sentence, told Richards: “It is a great concern to me to see a man of your age going out to a pub and just drinking and drinking and drinking. It was appalling behaviour.

“However it is clear to me that you have made enormous strides to turn yourself around. The trigger for this was alcohol and you have conquered alcohol. It has been confirmed to me that you are now alcohol free. You have avoided immediate imprisonment by the skin of your teeth.”

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