Bricklayer spared jail after knocking man unconscious in fight outside nightclub

Norwich Crown Court. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Norwich Crown Court. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Archant

A bricklayer who knocked a man unconscious with two punches outside a nightclub in Lowestoft has been warned it is his 'final chance' as he was spared jail.

Kurtis Matthews, 21, had intervened in a confrontation outside the Faith nightclub on March 18 last year.

A man who was "substantially intoxicated" had tried getting into a car belonging to one of Matthews' friends, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Matthews got involved and threw two punches in "quick succession".

He admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm and appeared unrepresented for sentence on Monday.

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He explained he works two jobs including as a self-employed bricklayer and part time Chinese delivery driver to pay off debts.

"The incident unfolded in an unusual way," said Judge Katharine Moore.

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"[A man], apparently substantially intoxicated by one substance or another, tried to get into a car belonging to a friend of yours, perhaps believing it to be a taxi.

"Your friend was understandably annoyed and there was a confrontation. As it developed you involved yourself.

"You went over and threw two punches. He fell to the floor and briefly lost consciousness."

Judge Moore said neither the victim or a witness supported the prosecution, which was brought on CCTV evidence alone.

"You readily admitted your involvement and expressed some remorse. The matter has taken rather a long time to get to court. I find myself in a difficult position because you are unrepresented."

Matthews has previous convictions for criminal damage, battery and being concerned in the supply of cannabis.

"I am self employed as a bricklayer for Persimmon Homes and I have a part-time Chinese delivery job," he told the court in mitigation. "I needed the extra cash at the moment because I am in a bit of debt.

"I owe about £4,000 which I couldn't get rid of because of the interest.

"I haven't been out previous to this fight, and I am not out past midnight any more.

"This was just because of drink aggravation I suppose. When I go out I drink quite a lot."

He added he is still using cannabis regularly as he is "struggling with sleep and depression".

"This was exactly the sort of location likely to lead to widespread disorder," added Judge Moore. "This was a very short-lived incident as far as you were concerned.

"It is with a considerable degree of hesitation it is possible to just avoid sending you to prison today."

Matthews, of Lovewell Road, Lowestoft, was given a 21 week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.

He was also placed on an electronic curfew and ordered to carry out 15 days of rehabilitation activity.

"That is to make sure you have extra support to stay away from binge drinking and cannabis," Judge Moore added.

"This is very much for you a final chance."

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