Man sentenced for Bowthorpe car park attack

Judge Peter Jacobs with men on the Payback scheme at Centenary House in Norwich.
Photo: Bill Smith Judge Peter Jacobs with men on the Payback scheme at Centenary House in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

Peter Walsh peter.walsh@archant.co.uk
Saturday, December 7, 2013
11:33 AM

A man who punched a father, fracturing his eye socket, in front of his young family in the car park of a Bowthorpe shopping centre has been handed a 
custodial sentence.

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Thomas Lewis, 20, of Suckling Avenue, Norwich, appeared at Norwich Crown Court yesterday to be sentenced after he previously admitted causing grievous bodily harm to a man whom he punched in the face.

He had also admitted assaulting the man’s wife in the attack which happened on April 2 this year in the Roy’s car park at Wendene, Bowthorpe.

Norwich Crown Court heard that the victim was seeing a counsellor following the attack which resulted in him having six weeks off work and has left him anxious about going out and fearful about getting involved in confrontations.

He has sold his car as he was worried the defendant, who was a passenger in a Land Rover which had been behind the victim’s car in the car park, might recognise his number plate.

Sentencing Lewis to 10 months, Judge Peter Jacobs said it was an attack that got close to a “road rage” incident in a public supermarket car park when his partner and children as well as “others going about their normal business are present”.

He said the punch was a “very powerful blow” to a man who was “trying to restrain his wife” and “get her out of the way”.

Judge Jacobs said: “Unfortunately for him you didn’t recognise that. All he was trying to do was defuse it.”

Martin Ivory, prosecuting, said the incident happened after the victim, who was in the car with his wife and three children, aged three, 13 and 15, reversed into a toddler space.

Mr Ivory said the defendant was a passenger in a Land Rover car that had been following closely behind.

He said that there had been some gesticulating going on which prompted the victim’s wife to go over to the other vehicle, at which point she was threatened.

Her husband heard this and went to move her out of the way to calm the situation down but was himself threatened and punched.

Mr Ivory said: “He moved forward towards his wife and put his arm towards her and moved her back trying to calm her down.”

Threats were directed towards the man who was punched by the defendant who then also hit the woman to the back of the head after she pushed him for striking her husband.

Mr Ivory said: “The impact of the punch was such that as soon as he had been hit he described turning backwards and going to the floor. He put his hand to his face and noticed a lot of blood. He was aware his wife was saying his name and could still hear the defendant swearing.”

He added that the defendant then noticed the back of the Land Rover and the reverse lights come on but was able to get himself out of the way.

Jonathan Morgans, mitigating, said it was a one punch attack but that Lewis was “sincerely” remorseful and had wanted to “apologise for what he had done” ever since.

He said Lewis was still a young man with no previous convictions who was in a long-term relationship. He had two children – one just a few weeks old and another who had a serious medical condition – and it was his family who would feel the impact of his loss of liberty most.

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