A MAN visiting Llangollen for a fishing competition had his cheek fractured and five teeth broken when he was attacked by a former soldier.
Thomas Alan Ashworth, 25, branded “a yob on licensed premises” had denied a charge of grievous bodily harm but changed his plea at Mold Crown Court yesterday.
Ashworth, of Min y Coed, Brook Street, Llangollen, received a 16-month prison sentence suspended for two years.
He was ordered to pay his victim £3,000 compensation for his loss of earnings while recuperating.
Ashworth must carry out 250 hours of unpaid work and he was placed on supervision for a year.
A “prohibited activity” order was also made, which bans him from Llangollen pubs for 12 months.
Judge Niclas Parry told him: “Not for the first time, your behaviour was that of a yob.”
He was clearly in an argumentative mood and picked on a man who was simply enjoying himself socially.
The confrontation led to him being struck repeatedly and his cheekbone was fractured.
The victim suffered a serious injury and had lost confidence and substantial earnings.
It was also aggravated by the fact Ashworth was banned from the pub under the local Pub Watch scheme when the attack occurred.
The judge said he took into account the attack in the pub was short-lived, he had not intended such serious injuries, and Ashworth perceived there had been an element of provocation. He was a hard worker, a devoted father and he had kept out of trouble for 12 months.
David Mainstone, prosecuting, said that on Saturday, January 28 last year, Gary Hedges, from the Shrewsbury area, attended a fly-fishing competition with friends and stayed at the Hand Hotel.
They returned to the bar where Ashworth later asked him what he was staring at?
Mr Hedges asked him what he was talking about, the situation was defused and they sat at the same table together talking.
Mr Hedges, who had eight or nine pints, had little recollection after that, but his friend Michael Dixon saw Ashworth grab him around the back of the neck and punch him six or seven times.
The victim fell to the floor and Ashworth left the premises. Another customer, Julie Valentine, feared he had been stabbed, raised the alarm and when she saw Ashworth outside, told him to go back in to “face the music”.
But Ashworth was abusive to her and threw his drink in her face, said Mr Mainstone.
Ashworth admitted a common assault upon her.
The victim went to hospital in Wrexham where a gash to his eyelid was glued but after he returned home he was still in pain. He went to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital where he was X-rayed and that confirmed a fractured cheek.
He had surgery, it was fixed with a metal plate and screws. Five teeth had also been damaged.
The victim had been off work for two months, the incident had left him nervous and “looking over his shoulder” and he had been diagnosed with a form of traumatic stress syndrome.
Ashworth had previous convictions for violence in pubs in 2006 and 2009, Mr Mainstone said.
Mark Connor, defending, said Ashworth accepted causing the injuries on the basis of excessive self-defence. It was his case that there had been two or three punches following provocation.
That was not accepted by the prosecution but it was decided there was no need to call evidence on the issue.
Mr Connor said Ashworth had been in the Army for three years, had served his country, and since the incident he rarely went out.