Lout facing jail for headbutt

A LOUT who viciously butted a man in what prosecutors say was an unprovoked attack in an Ipswich street today faces the prospect of being sent to jail.

A LOUT who viciously butted a man in what prosecutors say was an unprovoked attack in an Ipswich street today faces the prospect of being sent to jail.

Jonathan O'Brien, of Nacton Road, Ipswich, fractured his 23-year-old victim's eye socket in two places.

When he appeared at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court, O'Brien pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

He will now be sent before a crown court judge where he will be sentenced.

Gareth Davies, prosecuting, told the magistrates: “It was an unprovoked assault.

“The incident happened on Sunday, May 13 this year on Felixstowe Road in Ipswich close to the junction with Murray Road.

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“The victim had been at the Gainsborough Labour Club with his girlfriend. He said there was a bit of joking going on between him and another man.”

The victim left at 11.45am to walk his girlfriend home but as they approached the junction with Murray Road they were approached by two men on bicycles, one of whom was O'Brien.

O'Brien, 23, had been angered by what the victim had said to his friend in the club, although the victim stressed it had been meant as a joke.

“The victim says the defendant grabbed him by the throat and told him not to make threats. The victim told him he should learn to take a joke,” Mr Davies said.

“He then let go of him and head butted him to the right side of his face. In due course it was found that the victim had sustained two fractures to his right eye socket.”

Mark Holt, mitigating, said O'Brien disagreed with the victim's version of events, instead insisting he approached the couple on his own after seeing the victim manhandling his girlfriend.

“He didn't think that was acceptable. He placed his hand on his chest, effectively saying 'back off from the lady'.”

He claims the victim then threw a punch at him, prompting him to butt him in the face.

Mr Holt said: “He will say there was provocation, there was a perceived reason to throw the head butt.”

The magistrates committed the case to Ipswich Crown Court, where judges have more severe sentencing powers.

O'Brien was released on unconditional bail pending a sentencing date yet to be set.

Have you been a victim of a violent crime? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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