A MAN who punched a taxi driver 10 times outside an Ellesmere Port social club has received a community order.

Michael Buckley, 52, of Plantation Drive, Ellesmere Port, pleaded guilty to the charge of assault by beating when he appeared at Chester Magistrates Court on Tuesday, July 20.

Prosecuting, Joshua Sanderson-Kirk said it was on the night of May 22 at The Groves Sports and Social Club when the complainant, taxi driver Mark Agius, arrived to pick up a fare.

Buckley approached the taxi, got in, and began talking to the driver about the Falklands War.

He then got out, walked around to the front door, opened it and began punching Mr Agius.

The court heard he punched the driver 10 times to the head, and the driver was unable to get out as he had his seat belt on.

The driver then got out of the car, and Buckley threatened to drive away in the taxi, before leaving the scene.

The taxi driver was left with a swollen eye which prevented him from working for a couple of days, as well as cuts and bruising.

In police interview, Buckley said he had had about seven or eight pints of Carling and could not remember the incident, but accepted it was him and was remorseful and apologetic.

Buckley had one previous conviction for an irrelevant matter.

A probation report heard Buckley say it had been the first time the social club had reopened following the Covid lockdown and it was a friend's birthday.

That morning, Buckley had gone to get his second Covid vaccination and, during that evening, he would not normally be feeling worse off from having 6-8 pints, but his memory was blank after a certain point that evening.

The report added for him to behave as he did was "completely out of character" and Buckley described feeling sick when he saw the footage and photos of the incident and aftermath.

Defending, Becky Hay said Buckley fully appreciated how serious the offence could have been.

Buckley was "well respected in the local community", with a character reference submitted to magistrates.

He wished to pay compensation for both the victim's injuries and for the loss of earnings.

Magistrates imposed a 12-month community order where Buckley must complete 300 hours unpaid work and observe a 6pm-6am curfew on Friday and Saturday nights for six weeks.

He must pay £800 compensation and £85 court costs.