Mansfield man goaded prison officer in pub and knocked him out with one punch

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A Mansfield man who knocked his victim unconscious with one punch after goading him in the pub about being a prison officer has been sentenced.

Lewis Morton went out of his way to confront the man, who is much smaller, at the Ladybrook pub on November 10, Nottingham Crown Court was told.

Whenever the man went outside for a smoke Morton followed and made comments like, “You’re a screw aren't you?” even though the man was simply there for a drink with his partner.

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“This pattern continued every time he went outside and the defendant’s comments became increasingly aggressive,” said prosecutor Abigail Hill.

Nottingham Crown Court.Nottingham Crown Court.
Nottingham Crown Court.

Just before midnight, Morton, aged 30, confronted his victim in the toilets and told him he had been in prison, before following him into the bar and punching him in the side of the face.

His victim was knocked unconscious and treated at the maxillofacial clinic of the Queens Medical Centre.

Four months later he was still eating soft foods and learned his jaw might have to be broken and re-set, Ms Hill said.

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His work as a prison officer was affected and he found himself concerned he will bump into the defendant or his friends.

Five days before the attack Morton caused £240 of damage in the same pub when he and another man jammed a knife into the ball-dispensing mechanism of a pool table.

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The court heard Morton has seven previous convictions for 10 offences, including violence in 2008 and 2011, and criminal damage in 2012. He was last sentenced to 12 months in a Young Offenders Institute in February 2013.

Chris Brewin, mitigating, said: "He woke up the next morning feeling devastated and ashamed and disappointed. He was highly intoxicated and feels he has let his family down.”

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He said Morton, a father-of-two who works as a roofer, “has taken steps to reduce his drinking by not going to the pub as often as he used to.”

On Tuesday, Recorder Anne Marie Trussler sentenced him to 16 months, suspended for two years, with a 31-days programme, a 120-day alcohol abstinence monitoring programme and five rehabilitation days.

Morton, of Winster Way, Mansfield, admitted actual bodily harm and criminal damage, on March 14.

He was ordered to pay £120 compensation for the pool table and £1,000 to the man he assaulted.