A disabled man was subjected to an unprovoked attack and left with broken ribs when he went out for a drink in his local pub, a court was told.
John Noble, 53, was pushed with force from behind by paranoid schizophrenic Sean Marsden, of Loynd Street, Great Harwood for ‘absolutely no reason’ at The Station, Nelson, where he is a regular.
Mr Noble, who has difficulty walking and uses a stick, fell into a large table, hurting his ribs. He was in a lot of pain and was struggling to breathe.
Pennine Magistrates Court was told how Mr Noble didn’t know what had happened, but a witness had seen Marsden, an alcoholic who had been drinking all day, give the victim a “really hard shove.” CCTV of the incident also showed the defendant was not provoked in any way by Mr Noble.
Marsden, 31, also a regular at the pub, told police he has been drinking since about 9am and couldn’t remember what he had done.
When he was shown the CCTV footage, he said he was disgusted with himself.
The defendant, who has 31 offences on his record and has been to jail for violence, almost ended up behind bars again when a district judge said he was thinking of immediate custody.
But, District Judge James Clarke drew back and imposed a community order, after he said it was visibly apparent that when hearing the facts in court, Marsden was upset - and that emphasised his remorse.
The district judge told Marsden: “This was a vulnerable man who was attacked without provocation and suffered significant injuries that could have been a lot worse.”
Marsden admitted assault by beating, last August 19. He was sentenced to an 18 month community order with supervision, a specified activity requirement dealing with alcohol use and a six week curfew. He was ordered to pay £300 compensation.
District Judge Clarke was also considering making an exclusion order from The Station, but the defendant has vowed never to set foot in the pub again.
Prosecutor Eddie Harrison said Mr Noble was taken to hospital by ambulance and said he had been told he had received broken ribs. He was given painkillers.
Sara Lyle, defending, said Marsden had not been in trouble since October 2010. He was “absolutely disgusted” with his behaviour and was very sorry.
The defendant suffered depression, had a history of self-harm, was a paranoid schizophrenic and was an alcoholic.
The solicitor continued: “The defendant is fully aware he does need help with regards to his alcoholism. If he doesn’t sort out this problem, it is going to have detrimental effect not only on himself, but the people around him as well.”
Miss Lyle said Marsden was on anti-depressant and anti-psychotic drugs.
She added: “He shouldn’t be drinking to the excess he is, obviously not with the medication he takes. He has reduced his alcohol consumption dramatically. He does say this was an absolute eye opener as to his behaviour. His behaviour on the night in question was appalling.”