An off-duty policeman suffered severe facial fractures after being attacked on a night out by the “hardest man in Stockton”.
The unprovoked assault was carried out by Jason Turnbull, 40, while the officer danced with friends at Traders, in Blue Post Yard, Stockton, County Durham, on December 11 of last year, Teesside Live reports.
The club’s security cameras caught Turnbull talking to the policeman before “taking a boxer’s stance” and throwing around eight or nine punches to his face, with the victim falling to the floor before Turnbull then punched his friend.
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Teesside Crown Court heard other revellers shouted at Turnbull and chased him away.
The officer said Turnbull told him: “I’m the hardest man in Stockton”, before turning away to dance – then approaching him again and attacking him.
On Wednesday (June 22), Turnbull, through his barrister Andrew Turton, said that he had not gone out that night looking for trouble or to punch anyone.
Mr Turton said his client was, “extremely remorseful” and that he had offered character references to the court.
The court heard the officer had suffered a fracture to his eye socket and to his jaw.
He has undergone surgery to have plates fitted in his face, but the area around his mouth remains numb – he feels constant pressure in the inside of his mouth and his eye socket.
Prosecutor Jenny Hague said that police were able to identify Turnbull from CCTV footage, but that he refused to answer questions about the incident after he was arrested.
Turnbull pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
He has 10 previous convictions for 21 offences.
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He was sentenced to over ten years in prison for drugs offences in 2014, and was under licence after being released, when he committed his latest offence.
Mr Turton said that his client is adamant that he didn’t claim he was, “the hardest man in Stockton” as he was born in Middlesbrough and considers himself to be a Middlesbrough man.
Judge Paul Watson told him: “The off-duty officer was out enjoying himself and having a good time when he had the misfortune of meeting you.
“But you were belligerent and aggressive in your manner towards him. Without any provocation, you punched him. He was left with a fractured jaw and eye socket and his numbness may be permanent. However, you eventually pleaded guilty and I accept your remorse as genuine.”
The judge sentenced Turnbull to four years and three months in prison.
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