An “experienced boxer” who fractured victim’s skull with single punch escapes jail

Norwich Crown Court. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Norwich Crown Court. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

An 'experienced boxer' who fractured a man's skull with a single punch at King's Lynn bus station last winter has escaped immediate jail after a plea from his victim.

Joseph Manning, 18, admitted causing grievous bodily harm without intent after handing himself in to a police station following a 'scuffle' on December 17 last year.

Andrew Oliver, prosecuting at Norwich Crown Court, said there had been a 'heated exchange' between Manning and some teenage girls, but other men in the area stepped in.

'One girl ended up face to face with the defendant,' said Mr Oliver. 'He said 'if you were a bloke I would smash your head in'. Members of the public, including the complainant, became involved. At one point Mr Manning turned, walked up to the victim and punched him in the face.'

The victim was knocked unconscious and taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn before being transferred to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge. He had suffered a fractured skull and subdural haematoma.

Manning had left the scene but later handed himself in to police. In interview he said he had been an 'experienced boxer'.

Mitigating for Manning, Sam Stockwell said there had been 'an element of provocation'.

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'One of the comments made by the women was he and his friends were called 'dirty smelly pikeys',' he said. 'That was where the initial angst flowed from. 'He was ashamed and felt remorse, and has started to show an understanding of the effect of his actions.'

Judge Stephen Holt told Manning: 'These courts see day in and day out single punch blows with people falling to the floor and dying. It is extremely dangerous and you need to learn a very important lesson. If you do this again and your victim dies you are going to prison for a very long time. It is not an exaggeration to say the injuries you cause to your 42yo victim were life changing. His memory has been affected and nearly a year later he is still not able to go back to work because he can't drive.

'He in a very spirited way says if the defendant has any dependents I do not want him to go to prison. That is the man you injured so severely pleading on your behalf.

'When I read this case it seemed to me you had to go straight to prison. Having heard about you and seen you I am going to suspend that sentence.'

Manning, of Castle Acre Road, Swaffham, was given 12 months in prison to be suspended for two years, and a curfew from 7pm to 6am for three months.