A Northampton man has been given a suspended prison sentence after an attack left his victim with life-altering injuries.
Jay Aitken, aged 30, of Jenner Crescent, appeared at Northampton Crown Court on Friday, May 27 after pleading guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm without intent.
The court heard that the attack happened at the Whitehills Pub at around 9.20pm on August 27, 2021. The victim was sitting next to Aitken at a table full of people and a witness described the atmosphere as “rowdy.”
That same witness then claimed Aitken half stood up from his seat and punched the victim twice, causing him to stumble backwards and fall to the floor “lifeless”.
CCTV footage played to the court showed Aitken throw a total of seven punches to the victim, who was lying unconscious on the ground.
The court heard that the victim was bleeding from his left eye and his mouth. Police and paramedics were called to the scene but the victim did not go to hospital that night.
Ben Gow, prosecuting, told the court that - nine days later - the victim was admitted to hospital with bruising around his left eye as well as headaches. A scan showed he had a bleed on his brain.
The victim, in a statement, said his condition has since “deteriorated” and he struggles with memory problems and decreased energy levels. He said doctors have told him he can no longer work, drink or drive and he is “terrified” of going out.
Mr Gow told the court that the victim’s grandmother said she felt he had “died” that night because of how much his behaviour has changed. The victim described living with his symptoms as “feeling like a terminal illness” and said the attack “ruined his life.”
Aitken’s previous convictions include assault occasioning actual bodily harm, affray and various driving offences.
Nasreen Akhter Tincey, in mitigation, said that Aitken has been “remorseful from the very start.” She added that he gave a no comment interview to the police because he did not have representation at that time.
The court heard that Aitken suffers from mental health issues and he was not taking his required medication at the time of the attack because the pandemic meant that he was unable to access his GP. This resulted in him behaving “erratically” and “irrationally.”
Ms Tincey said the attack happened as a result of the victim “goading” Aitken.
She added: “He is ashamed of his actions and can’t believe he acted the way he did.”
References described Aitken as a “well respected individual” with work ethics that are “second to none.”
Her Honour Judge Rebecca Crane sentenced Aitken to two years imprisonment, suspended for 18 months. She ordered him to undertake 120 days of alcohol abstinence monitoring requirement and 30 rehabilitation requirement days as well as 100 hours of unpaid work.
She also ordered Aitken to pay £6,000 in compensation to the victim as he caused “permanent and irreversible injuries.”
Judge Crane added: “You are extremely lucky to get this opportunity. Do not ask for a second chance because you are getting it today.”