Rugby thug punched worker

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A chance encounter with a stranger in a Blackpool street left a worker with a double jaw fracture.

A man, who had been selling wrist bands and tickets, was struck in the face by a rugby player on a weekend break in the resort with team mates.

Matthew Dixon, from Wales, was given a suspended sentence by a judge and ordered him to pay his victim £1,000 compensation over the attack in the Albert Road area one evening.

Dixon, 28, from Mountain Ash, Rhonda Cynan Taff, was given 12 months prison, suspended for two years, having earlier pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Preston Crown Court heard the violent episode took place on October 8 last year as the victim and a colleague were making their way back towards the Tower area, having been working in the town centre that afternoon.

Paul Cummings, prosecuting, said Dixon and a group of males, all dressed as basketball players, were crossing Albert Road the same time as the two workers.

The defendant had his arms outstretched, seemingly pointing and shouting at something. The first man ducked under Dixon’s arm.

Dixon then confronted the man, said a few words and then grabbed the collar of his jumper with one hand before using the other to punch him once to the left side of the face.

The defendant crossed back over the road and went to a chip shop where he was argumentative.

The victim realised his jaw had been broken.

He had suffered two fractures of the jaw, for which he underwent surgery, with plates and screws being inserted.

He was discharged from hospital the following day. Dixon had no previous convictions.

Julie Taylor, defending, said he had been on a weekend rugby trip to Blackpool at the time.

She said: “He has little or no recollection of the offence.

“He had been drinking all day, from that morning.

“He has expressed genuine remorse for what he did and is thoroughly ashamed of himself.

“He has very much learned his lesson”.