A THUG who punched a man unconscious in Newbury town centre before kicking his teeth out was lucky not to have killed him, a judge has said.
Twenty-year-old Ben Thompson shattered his victim’s jaw in two places during the attack, causing life-changing injuries.
He then casually tried to get a girl’s phone number before fleeing.
Thompson, of Hawthorn Road, Newbury, has multiple previous convictions for violence and later bragged of his actions on Facebook, posting: “Since I punched him I just wanna go do it again.”
But justice caught up with him at Reading Crown Court on Wednesday, February 7.
Told he was going into custody, Thompson went pale before clutching his head in his hands and repeatedly crying “no”, while his mother wept in the public gallery.
Edward Culver, prosecuting, said the incident happened outside the Slug and Lettuce pub in Newbury in the early hours of Sunday, January 15, last year, after victim Jake Flower, a local family man, had a verbal altercation with Thompson’s brother, Joe.
CCTV footage showed Thompson then running up from the side and felling Mr Flower with a savage punch to the head.
As 23-year-old Mr Flower lay sprawled, helpless and unconscious, Thompson kicked him in the face.
The savage attack sent Mr Flower’s teeth flying and shattered his jaw in two places.
Mr Culver said: “The defendant then tried to get the phone number of one of the girls present.”
Mr Flower, who has needed repeated surgery, told the court in a victim impact statement that he can no longer close his jaw properly, that nerve damage causes shooting pains and that he lost income from time off work.
In addition, the court heard, he can no longer enjoy playing with his children in the same way because, if they touch his face, it causes terrible pain.
Mr Culver concluded: “The defendant has shown a limited degree of remorse – if any.”
Thompson admitted assault causing grievous bodily harm.
His previous convictions include multiple counts of battery and burglary, along with theft, resisting arrest and being drunk and disorderly, the court heard.
Steve Molloy, defending, said his client had feared his brother was under attack and had acted impulsively.
He added: “He does accept there was an element of anger involved.”
Mr Molloy handed in a letter from Thompson’s mother and recounted his client’s learning difficulties, before concluding: “This could possibly – just – fall into the category where Your Honour could potentially suspend any custodial sentence.”
But Deputy Circuit Judge Stewart said a punch to the head could have proved fatal – a kick with a shod foot even more so.
He added: “After the punch Mr Flower was flat on his back with his arms outstretched, completely unable to defend himself.
“This was a sustained attack and the consequences for Mr Flower were very serious and distressing.
“Your previous convictions for violence are an aggravating feature and I have to consider the gravity of this offence.”
Thompson was sent to a Young Offenders’ Institution for 12 months, half of which will be spent in custody and the rest on licence in the community.