TWO men have been jailed following a Chester bar brawl that saw one attack an autistic man and the other use his mother’s crutch as a weapon.
Nathan Tuppeny, 25, and Raymond Holding, 37, were happily celebrating New Year’s Eve with their partners in The Commercial Hotel in the city centre.
But when a severely autistic man sitting nearby inexplicably launched a glass onto their table, Tuppeny confronted him and began throwing punches.
As other punters tried to calm the situation, Holding grabbed a hospital-style crutch from the victim’s mother and swung it at one by-stander's head.
CCTV footage played at Chester Crown Court yesterday also shows him punch one man so hard he was propelled across the room.
Judge Patrick Thompson jailed Tuppeny for 10 months and Holding for 16 months, saying only immediate custodial sentences were appropriate.
He told the men: “This was an ugly and horrible incident to witness and it was clear that both of you had lost control. I’m afraid violence of this nature in a public place will not be tolerated.”
The judge accepted it would be a natural response to be alarmed by a glass being thrown towards them and they had no reason to know the man responsible was severely autistic. But they made no attempt to listen to by-standers who tried to explain and defuse the situation.
“A number of people were trying to act as peace-makers and were trying to explain the situation effectively to you,” the judge said.
“Neither of you were prepared to listen to anybody and were intent on retribution.”
Addressing Holding, he added: “One man was punched straight across the room.
“You then armed yourself with a crutch and assaulted another man by striking him to the head.”
Jo Maxwell, prosecuting, said the victim sustained a three centimetre gash on his head that required two stitches.
Other victims received bruises and scrapes in the fracas.
In a victim impact statement, the autistic man’s mother said her son had suffered with extreme anxiety after the attack and would “jump out of his skin” when approached.
“He’s lost all his confidence around people,” she said.
The court heard Tuppeny, of Pembroke Drive, Whitby, Ellesmere Port, has one previous conviction for possession of an air rifle in 2014.
But Holding, of Thirlmere Road, Whitby, Ellesmere Port, has notched up 22 convictions for 54 offences.
Brian Treadwell, defending Tuppeny, said his client had “grasped the wrongness of his actions” and had been left “shaken up” by the offence.
Tuppeny knew nothing about the complainant’s background and had not been “spoiling for a fight”.
Clare Jones, defending Holding, said her client was a “stay at home father” who looked after the house and children while his partner studied for a university degree and worked at a nursery.
“He is appalled and ashamed of his behaviour,” she said.
Tuppeny admitted affray, while Holding pleaded guilty to affray, assault causing actual bodily harm (ABH) and possession of an offensive weapon in a public place.
Det Con Justin Jones, of Chester Local Policing Unit, said: “This was an extremely violent incident which took place while people should have been having a fun and enjoyable time celebrating the New Year. Five people were assaulted, with one having to receive hospital treatment.
“One of Tuppeny’s victims has been greatly affected by this assault. I hope knowing Tuppeny is being punished for his crime will help him to come to terms with his ordeal.”
See full story in the Chester Leader