AFTER punching another man so hard that he broke his jaw, Luke Webb claimed he had been acting in self-defence – until he was told there was a CCTV recording of the incident.
He then admitted carrying out the attack in a Coventry night club, and pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm on his victim.
But Webb (24) of Radford Road, Coventry, escaped being jailed when he appeared at Warwick Crown Court.
Instead he was sentenced to eight months in prison suspended for 12 months, and was ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work and to pay injured Kieran Morgan £250 in compensation.
Prosecutor Andrew Jackson said that on December 23 last year Mr Morgan went out with friends in Coventry city centre and ended up in Jumpin Jaks night club at the Skydome.
On his arrival it was clear he and Webb, who used to work at the same establishment, saw each-other, and Webb ‘initiated conversation.
“He believed that Morgan was keeping the company of his former girlfriend, and there had been two earlier occasions when he had been interrogated to that effect.
“The answer Morgan gave was unsatisfactory to Webb, who believed he was telling lies.”
Mr Morgan decided it would be sensible to simple walk away, but as he did so he felt a hard blow to the side of his face, sending his head turning to the right.
He rushed to another room where he was aware of a sensation to his jaw and blood in his mouth, and he immediately realised his jaw had been broken.
At hospital it was found the break had caused ‘a clear deformity’ to his lower jaw, and he had to undergo an operation during which screws were inserted into the bone to repair it.
As a result of the injury, Mr Morgan says his bite is slightly different, and he still suffers numbness to part of his jaw.
He was unable to eat solid food, or anything particularly hot or cold, for some time, was unable to work, and could not drive because of medication he was on for the pain.
And the keen footballer, who would play three or four times a week, was told he could not play for six months until his jaw had completely healed.
When Webb was arrested the same night, he claimed he had been acting in self-defence – until he was told there was a CCTV recording of the incident.
He was also told of the extent of the injury, at which point he apologised and said he had not intended to cause such serious harm, added Mr Jackson.
Simon Hunka, defending, said: “He is most concerned about what will happen to him. This nature of assault clearly crosses the custody threshold.
“When I saw him he pressed on me that he has been remorseful. He’s shocked as to the effect of his behaviour, and would wish to apologise to him.”
Mr Hunka added that after Webb split with his former girlfriend, he moved back in with his mother, who has considerable difficulties, and the family’s finances were strained, even with Webb’s contribution.
Judge Sarah Buckingham told Webb there had to be a custodial sentence, but that it could just be suspended in view of his previous good character and that it had been a single blow.