Published: 11:00, 03 January 2013 |
Updated: 09:43, 10 January 2014
A thug who stabbed his partner’s ex-husband in the head with a screwdriver has walked free from court.
Barry Hughes was told by a judge he had escaped being locked up by the skin of his teeth and would be given one final chance.
Hughes, 50, was sentenced to 14 months imprisonment suspended for two years with 200 hours unpaid work. He was ordered to pay victim Paul Cooper £300 compensation and will be subject to a curfew from 8pm to 6am for four months.
Paul Cooper had rowed on the telephone with his former wife Michelle about their teenage daughter Bethany wanting shoes costing £70.
A few days later on February 4 last year, he went to pick up Bethany, 15, from her home in Chestnut Drive, Broadstairs.
Hughes, who has since married Michelle, came out of the house and went up to the victim’s car. He told Mr Cooper he did not appreciate the phone call and said it made his wife cry.
“Mr Cooper said the conversation was none of his business and wound his window up,” prosecutor John Fitzgerald told Maidstone Crown Court. “It prompted Mr Hughes to smack the window.”
Mr Cooper got out of his car and asked Hughes what his problem was. Bethany then witnessed Hughes lunging at Mr Cooper’s head with the screwdriver, causing bleeding.
Mr Cooper asked Hughes: “Is that all you have got?” He also suggested Hughes had “little man syndrome”. Hughes then swiped him across the left ear with the weapon.
A neighbour, who had seen Hughes leave the house with something concealed up his sleeve, later described the attacker walking away but then returning and attempting another blow.
"you have escaped an immediate prison sentence by the skin of your teeth. i very much hope you have learnt your lesson" – judge david griffith-jonesThe victim was left dazed, drifting in and out of consciousness and bleeding profusely. He was taken to hospital and six stitches were inserted in the head wound.
Mr Fitzgerald said Hughes at first claimed he had acted in self-defence. He was decorating, he said, and had just opened a tin of paint with the screwdriver.
Judge David Griffith-Jones QC told Hughes: “In short, this was a disgraceful and unprovoked attack in which you chose to use a weapon.”
Hughes had left the house “tooled up” with the screwdriver and then used it to attack Mr Cooper.
“The injuries on the unfortunate Mr Cooper were not as serious as they might have been,” he continued. ”This took place in the street and your victim had attended simply to collect his daughter.
“It was in full view of onlookers, most particularly you victim’s own daughter.”
The judge said he was prepared to accept the attack was wholly out of character and described as an aberration.
“In all the circumstances a prison sentence is demanded but in light of the information I have about you and the general mitigation, I am prepared to give you one final chance by suspending it.
“You have escaped an immediate prison sentence by the skin of your teeth. I very much hope you have learnt your lesson and you won’t be seen back here again.”
Every morning at 10am we play you an hour of tunes from the 90s. We call it, #WeLoveThe90s.
Play 'Say It' with Garry and Laura on kmfm Breakfast and you could win £1,000!
Wake up to kmfm Breakfast with Garry and Laura - it's Kent's alarm call.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
This is a brand new online resource covering every aspect of owning and improving a home in Kent and Medway.
Get the latest food and drink news, recipes from some of the nation's top chefs plus updates from Kent's vineyards and breweries.
Search in your local area to find your perfect partner in Kent, with FreshStart Dating! PLUS, register for free!.
Neil Miller, Hever Castle head gardener is new gardening blogger.
Buy pictures that you've seen in a KM newspaper, or send in a picture and we will place it on our photo sales website so that you can purchase a super, unique gift.