Crutch used as weapon in pub

ATTEMPTS to eject an injured local from a pub on New Year’s Eve resulted in one man being knocked unconscious and two other people assaulted with a crutch, a court heard.

Richard Atherton, 28, of Commercial Street, in Norton, appeared at York Crown Court for sentencing having previously admitted a charge of affray.

The court heard that Atherton staggered into the Union pub, in Norton, on New Year’s Eve last year, agitated and bleeding from a mouth injury.

As the landlady attempted to escort him off the premises, Atherton struck out, knocking a customer unconscious to the floor.

Stephanie Pawson, prosecuting, said that outside the pub Atherton was still agitated and, when a woman hit out at him with one of her metal crutches, he snatched it, hitting her over the head and also attacking another person as he attempted to dial 999 to get help.

The police attended and a search of the area eventually resulted in Atherton’s arrest, although officers took him straight to hospital after he told them he thought he had lost some teeth.

His victims, both inside and outside the Union pub, suffered cuts, swellings and abrasions.

Simon Clegg, mitigating, said that his client had a previous record, but had never been involved in any violence.

Adding that his client was in full-time work, Mr Clegg said that Atherton had responsibilities, including paying maintenance to the mother of his child.

Passing sentence, Judge Colin Burn told Atherton that if he was to stay out of trouble he had to combat his binge drinking.

He added that the use of a weapon, in this case the crutch, meant that the offence crossed the custody threshold, however he could, because of the circumstances and the mitigating factors, suspend that prison sentence.

Atherton was sentenced to six months’ jail, suspended for one year, placed under supervision for one year and ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work.

He was also ordered to take part in the “Stop Binge Drinking” programme and to pay £1,000 towards the cost of his prosecution.