Man jailed for violent attack at Scarborough pub

Ben Paul Middleton
Ben Paul Middleton

A businessman who glassed a pub-goer and attacked police officers has been jailed for 16 months.

Ben Middleton, 34, a businessman with a record for drunken violence, kicked off on the dance floor of The Waterhouse pub, in St Thomas Street, as a large crowd of people danced and sang along to the live music.

Middleton, who had gone into the pub with a group of friends, began kicking at the legs of a male pub-goer and when a friend of the man told him to stop, Middleton struck him on the side of the face with a pint glass, York Crown Court heard.

Luckily, the glass was of the type designed to shatter on impact, which it did, preventing serious injury, said prosecutor Jo Shepherd.

The victim, who suffered a small cut to the face, delivered several retaliatory punches before going outside.

The violence spilled out into an alleyway, where Middleton, who had been kicked out of the pub, punched another man - a friend of the first victim - to the ground.

Attempts were made to restrain Middleton before two police officers arrived to be met by a torrent of foul-mouthed abuse.

One of the officers tried to cuff him, but the blood on his wrist caused the handcuff to slip and Middleton punched the female officer to the head, causing a bump and a “lasting” headache.

The officer brought out her PAVA spray in an attempt to subdue Middleton, but it seemed to have little impact on him as he continued to “struggle violently”.

They finally managed to pin him down and cuff him, whereupon two other officers alighted on the scene, bundling Middleton into the police van.

“But he refused to sit up and laid on the floor between the seats with his feet hanging out of the rear (of the van), which prevented the door being shut,” added Ms Shepherd.

When an officer asked Middleton to bend his legs so she could shut the door, he swore at her and told her to shut up.

“The police constable grabbed both his legs to get him into the cage (of the police vehicle),” said Ms Shephard.

Middleton responded by kicking the officer in the thigh, said Ms Shepherd.

He was initially taken to Scarborough Hospital to get treatment for the cuts to his hands, but because of his aggressive behaviour he had to be taken to Scarborough Police Station where he was placed in a cell.

He was charged with affray and two counts of common assault. He ultimately admitted the offences from December 2016 and appeared for sentence on Friday.

The court heard that Middleton, of Roosevelt Court, Sandybed Lane, Scarborough, had a long track record for violence including battery, affray, ABH, threatening behaviour and a wounding offence in 2007 when he received a two-year jail sentence after smashing a glass into someone’s face in an unprovoked attack in a town-centre nightclub.

In April 2016, he was jailed for 12 months for ABH and affray after attacking a group of women before knocking a female police officer unconscious with an elbow to the face. He was released in August of the same year – just four months before the incident at The Waterhouse in the early hours of December 11.

Defence barrister Laura Addy said that Middleton, who earned good money carrying out property installations in Scarborough, was a “useful member of the community” when sober, but when drunk he was a totally different person.

“He has a mortgage, a business, a very supportive family,” she added. “He is at risk of losing all of that.”

She said the two victims suffered only minor injuries and Middleton himself sustained a “severe” cut, a black eye and scratches to his arm.

Jailing Middleton for 16 months, Judge Paul Worsley QC told the defendant: “Everything is going in your favour and yet you behave like this.”