A 24-year-old man has been jailed after he caused devastating injuries to a father who was felled with a single punch during a disturbance outside a Sowerby Bridge nightclub.
Electrical sub-contractor Arran Illingworth bowed his head as a judge watched the graphic CCTV footage of the punch which knocked Nicholas Miller backwards causing him to bang his head on the ground last August.
Illingworth, of Olivia View, Sowerby Bridge, claimed that he had initially acted as a peacemaker during the argument between others in Wharf Street that night, but after he was shown the CCTV footage of the incident he pleaded guilty last month to causing grievous bodily harm to Mr Miller.
The Recorder of Bradford Judge Roger Thomas QC said the incident had been sparked by another man making a nasty remark towards Mr Miller’s daughter, but he said it was nothing to do with Illingworth and he should have kept out of it.
The judge, sitting at Bradford Crown Court, said Illingworth’s “very heavy punch” had knocked Mr Miller senseless.
Prosecutor Joanne Shepherd told the court that Mr Miller was in and out of consciousness for about 30 minutes and had to undergo emergency surgery at Leeds General Infirmary for injuries to his head.
The court heard that the oil-rig worker was in hospital for about six weeks and in his victim personal statement he described how he had been left with eyesight problems which meant he couldn’t drive and a weakness down his right side.
Judge Thomas noted that Mr Miller hadn’t been able to work since the incident and the impact on his family life had been huge.
Before passing sentence Judge Thomas highlighted the fact that the maximum sentence for causing grievous bodily harm was five years, but he said Illingworth’s early guilty plea meant he was entitled to a third off any prison sentence imposed.
The court heard that Illingworth had never been in trouble before and his lawyer Andrew Walker described the punch as completely and utterly out of character.
Mr Walker said Illingworth had not been out looking for trouble that night and he never intended the consequences of his punch.
“He accepts by his plea and his genuine remorse that this was a single punch that shouldn’t have been thrown and of course it is accepted by the defence that it has had devastating consequences as far as Mr Miller is concerned,” added Mr Walker.
Jailing Illingworth Judge Thomas said the case showed the classic sentencing problem of balancing the enormous consequences suffered by the victim against the culpability of the defendant.
The judge told Illingworth that if he had been found guilty after a trial he would have been jailed for 45 months, but his guilty plea to the offence meant that term was reduced by a third to 30 months.