Man spared jail after knocking victim out with drunken one-punch attack in Northampton
'What you did that night was thoroughly despicable, to a young man who didn't deserve it for a moment'
A Northampton man who knocked another man unconscious by drunkenly punching him in the face for no reason avoided being jailed on Friday (June 25).
Kurt Jones was given a 12-month suspended prison sentence for assaulting a man outside McDonald's at around 4am on a Saturday morning in January last year.
The 30-year-old, of Ellis Way, handed himself in after seeing a police appeal for him and pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm without intent at Northampton Magistrates' Court in May.
Sentencing him, Recorder Michael Auty said: "What you did that night was thoroughly despicable, to a young man who didn't deserve it for a moment - you could have killed him.
"My caseload over the last 10 years is full of people who have done less then what you did that night and have killed.
"And had you killed, you would be going down the back stairs for something between 10 to 15 years - you might want to reflect on that."
Andrew Peet, prosecuting, told the court the victim was standing outside McDonald's with a female friend when Jones approached them, asking if they were boyfriend and girlfriend.
The friend tried to laugh it off and take the victim away but the defendant then squared up to him and punched him 'with full force' in the face, the lawyer said.
Recorder Auty told Jones: "The blow you struck to him was mighty indeed. You meant to hurt and the fact it didn't do more harm than it did is a mercy and a miracle in equal measure."
The victim suffered a fractured eye socket and was unable to apply for a job because of the injury, which was 'extremely stressful', according to his statement.
Mr Peet told the court: "Social interaction has become more difficult since this, he's lost his enthusiasm for going out and has become a completely different person.
"He says, 'it still frightens me to think something as unnecessary as this could happen to me so unexpectedly,' and he hopes he can become the person he once was."
Helen Chenery, defending, told the court Jones has no issues with drugs or alcohol and still has no idea why he attacked his victim, something he has never done before.
She added that her client knows he is very fortunate his victim's injuries were not more severe and asked the judge to suspend the sentence.
Recorder Auty told the defendant it was 'pathetic' that every aspect of the victim's life has been blighted because Jones could not control his drink and his temper.
"The easiest thing in the world to do is to simply send you straight to prison, it's what you deserve and you couldn't complain," the judge continued.
"The only thing holding me back is there's another side to you.
"I've read five excellent character references and unusually they don't seek to suggest your behaviour was anything other than how I have characterised it.
"They don't defend what you did but they don't recognise the man who did it.
"Am I sentencing Kurt Jones, the man who beat (the victim) so gratuitously that night or am I sentencing the Kurt Jones those references are describing? As they are very, very different people."
Recorder Auty said he decided to suspend Jones' sentence after 'anxious and deep thought'.
The judge also told him to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and up to 10 days of rehabilitation as well as pay his victim £200 in compensation.
"He lost an opportunity for a better job and he has been caused real harm from what you did that day," he added.
"I don't know if I'm right or not to take the chance with you that I am - I hope that I am.
"What you did that night was despicable and unforgivable. Never behave like that again - if you do, you will go to prison."