Thug spared jail after one-punch knockout blow

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court
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A man who knocked his friend out in a row over money has been spared jail after a court heard he has left Blackpool in a bid to stay out of trouble.

Paul Barker, 21, pleaded guilty to punching his victim to the floor, fracturing his nose after a drink and drugs binge in the resort last June.

I am taking a chance on you today as I think you might take that chance

The men had been out together and had returned to their shared resort flat around 4.30am on June 22 where they carried on drinking.

Barker fell asleep but when he woke at around 11am started claiming someone had stolen money from him.

An argument broke out in which Barker blamed the victim – who punched the defendant.

Barker retaliated, knocking his pal to the floor with a single blow.

The victim was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital where he had reconstructive surgery for his fractured nose and had to wear a splint on his face until he had recovered.

Barker pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH) on the basis there had been provocation from his flatmate.

Preston Crown Court heard he has a number of previous convictions for violence, but most were committed while he was still a teenager.

Since the attack, Barker has moved out of Blackpool to Northcote Road, Preston, where he lives with his partner – who is teetotal and does not condone her partner drinking, the court heard.

He has also started studying at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Recorder Robert Pearce sentencing, said: “This was a nasty injury and aggravated by your previous convictions.

“You have carried on convicting in the face of court orders.

“You have kept out of trouble for what in the context of your life is a period of time.

“You have taken positive steps to put things right in terms of your abuse of substances and gaining qualifications which will enable you to live a more productive life in the future.”

He handed Barker a four month sentence, suspended for 18 months with supervision, telling him: “I am taking a chance on you today as I think you might take that chance.”