A drunk thug who brutally attacked a pensioner with a cue after being asked to move out of the way of a snooker shot has been jailed.
William Rooney struck 68-year-old victim John Hill to the back of the head in the Sydney Street club in Accrington.
Mr Hill had been playing snooker earlier in the evening and at one point had asked Rooney to move so he could take a shot, Burnley Crown Court heard.
The court heard how ‘a large amount of blood’ resulted and when police arrived they found Mr Hill lying semi-conscious on the floor.
Father-of-two Rooney, 29, of Somerset Grove, Church, pleaded guilty to wounding and was jailed for four years and four months.
Paul Brookwell, prosecuting, told the court that the incident happened in the bar area of the club on the evening of August 27 last year.
The court heard how Rooney was seen on CCTV to select a snooker cue from the wall before walking over to the bar area and striking Mr Hill over the head.
Mr Brookwell said: “He was fought off by his friends and was restrained.
“Other people in the club were disturbed by what happened.
“Mr Hill can’t recall anything about the blow itself.
“He does recall a conversation with the defendant when he was playing snooker earlier in the evening.
“In order to take a shot on the table he asked the defendant if he could move out of the way.
“It would appear that may have caused some discontent, nothing more than that, and a little later on Mr Hill went over to shake the hand of the defendant.”
Mr Brookwell said there was a ‘disturbing’ time delay between the conversation and the attack and said that it ‘appears to have been largely unprovoked’.
When interviewed by officers Rooney admitted the offence and said it was ‘due to Mr Hill acting in a manner he thought was intimidating towards him’.
Mr Hill suffered a large ‘visible’ wound to the right side of his head which needed nine staples inserted at hospital and a ‘substantial bruise’ from his lower back stretching to his right shoulder.
The court heard how the pensioner has been left with a ‘permanent dent to his head’ and hearing problems due to nerve damage.
Defence barrister Isobel Thomas said William Rooney made an ‘incredibly stupid mistake while in drink’.
She told the court: “Mr Rooney knows he is inevitably facing a lengthy prison sentence.
“There’s perhaps little mitigation that can be put forward in respect of what happened.
“He says there is nothing that can excuse what he’s done and it should never have happened.
“It was an incredibly stupid mistake made in drink. He’s not been in trouble for 10 years.”
Miss Thomas said at the time of the incident the relationship with his wife was breaking down and ‘he was drinking more as a result of that and alcohol played a factor in this offence’.
The court heard how Rooney, who is now back together with his wife, suffers from depression which ‘got worse’ over the course of 2016.
Sentencing, Judge Jonathan Gibson said: “This is a very serious offence. It was a blow that caused a very nasty wound to his head in a visible position which required a number of staples.
“This appears to have been an isolated incident and you have expressed some remorse for what happened.”