You could have killed him, judge tells Kettering thug after car park bust-up
The victim was left with a fractured jaw
A thug left a man with a fractured jaw after punching him so hard in a Kettering car park he felt like he had been hit by a train.
Sean Bright squared up to his victim in a heated row about each other's parking outside Wickes in Northfield Avenue.
But he saw red when the man said his girlfriend was "stupid-looking" and knocked him to the floor, later admitting causing grievous bodily harm without intent.
On Tuesday (May 25) His Honour Judge Rupert Mayo told him he could have killed his victim - but spared him from prison and instead sentenced him to a conditional discharge.
Northampton Crown Court heard the 28-year-old, of Chase View Road in Geddington, was near the DIY shop on October 8 last year when the victim turned up in his van and parked in front of Bright's vehicle.
Prosecutor Phillip Plant said the pair exchanged words, with Bright saying: "Have I got enough room to get out?"
The victim replied: "Yes. Why are you complaining? You're the one parked in a disabled bay."
Both men argued about the quality of each other's parking before squaring up to each other.
The victim said: "I will ******* kill you, try me."
Bright replied: "You'll kill me will you?"
But when the victim told Bright to "take his stupid-looking girlfriend and go home" the Geddington man snapped, punching him in the face in front of the burger van.
The punch knocked him to the floor and left him with a fractured jaw, which needed steel plate surgery, as well as cuts.
The court heard the victim felt like he had been hit by a train and hasn't worked since the incident.
Mr Plant said: "He feels as if he is going to be affected by this for the rest of his life."
Bright was later arrested and admitted the assault when interviewed at a police station.
Mitigating, Ciara McElvogue said: "He is devastated by this and terrified by the prospect of going to prison today.
"He is a hard-working family man."
Sentencing, Judge Mayo said he accepted Bright had been provoked but that the assault could have had far more serious consequences.
He said: "I do not want to over-egg it but you could have killed him if he had fallen awkwardly.
"I can tell you are penitent and sorry and it is not going to happen again."
Bright was sentenced to a conditional discharge, meaning he will not face further action if he stays out of trouble for the next 12 months.
He will also have to pay compensation of £2,500 to his victim and court costs of £125.