A grieving man was attacked as feelings ran high near the anniversary of a fatal house blaze, a court heard.
Stephen Jackson, 58, was punched repeatedly when he was assaulted by John Matthews, 39.
The attack happened after the two men exchanged words concerning the blaze in which Susan Bradshaw, the daughter of Mr Jackson’s partner, Janace Bradshaw, died in January last year. Her partner Andrew Wilkinson, had survived the blaze.
The court was told that Janace Bradshaw harboured ill feelings towards Mr Wilkinson.
Mr Jackson, a club entertainments manager, did not suffer any permanent injury during the assault at Sydney Street Working Men’s Club, Accrington, in January.
He died of a completely unrelated heart attack in April this year, Burnley Crown Court was told.
Matthews, of Lodge Street, Accrington, is Mr¿Wilkinson’s uncle.
He admitted assault causing actual bodily harm. He was given a suspended two month jail sentence with 150 hours’ unpaid work.
Judge Jonathan Gibson said Mr Jackson had been an entirely innocent victim and had not shown any aggression during the incident.
But he told Matthews: "You are plainly remorseful. What you did is plainly out of character."
Matthews had no previous convictions.
David Macro, prosecuting, said in February 2009 Susan Bradshaw died in an Accrington house fire.
Mr Macro said that Andrew Wilkinson had survived the blaze and that Janice Bradshaw had some ill feelings towards him.
On January 23, at 10pm, Mr Jackson was at the club in the smoking shelter. Matthews entered and said he was theuncle of Mr Wilkinson.
He told Mr Jackson it was nearly a year since the fire and suggested Mr Wilkinson needed some support.
Mr Jackson replied: "We are still grieving and need support."
Mr Macro said the defendant got angry and that, when Mr Jackson tried to make his way to the bar, he felt a blow to his head, followed by several more punches. He went to the floor, felt more blows to his head and body but could not say how many times.
Mr Jackson staggered back into the club and an ambulance was called.
He was taken to hospital, was discharged but returned later that night and was kept in five days complaining of chest pains.
He did not suffer any permanent injury and his death was unrelated.
Mr Macro said on that February 3, the defendant went voluntarily to Greenbank Police Station, said he had been worrying all week and wanted to sort the matter out.
He said that after the fire he had taken his friend out to the club to cheer him up and Mr Jackson had told them to quieten down.
Matthews claimed he later apologised to the victim, but would say he had been ungracious and obnoxious.
Mr Macro said the defendant told police he had had nine pints, but had had a blackout and couldn’t remember much.
He said the incident would not have happened if he had not had so much to drink.