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This is South Devon
BY STAFF REPORTER, NEWSDESK@HERALDEXPRESS.CO.UK
11:00 – 13 May 2008
A man who smacked a ‘friend’ across the head with a pool cue after he made a flippant remark about the size of a girl’s breasts has been sentenced to 12 months in prison. Justin Rowe ended up in hospital needing six stitches to a gash to his head after the incident at The Plough in Buckland, Newton Abbot.
Speaking at Exeter Crown Court, prosecutor Lee Brembridge said Mr Rowe had met up with friend Lee Murray in the pub.
When Murray’s girlfriend arrived, Mr Rowe commented on her breasts.
The court was told that people laughed about the banter, except Murray, who struck Mr Rowe with the butt end of the cue causing it to break into several pieces.
Afterwards Mr Rowe said he had no memory of what happened to him and the next thing he remembered was being in Torbay Hospital having the cut stitched.
The court heard he later had to see his doctor on two occasions, because he was having trouble sleeping and suffered from memory loss.
In interview Murray said he couldn’t recall the incident but accepted he had been responsible because he agreed those who witnessed the attack were telling the truth.
Mitigating Rupert Taylor said at the time on the incident, Murray was taking some new medication for depression and it was making things worse.
He told the court both the victim and the defendant were friends and it was a ‘flippant and foolish remark’ which had caused Murray to act, not only out of character, but out of all proportion.
Defence counsel said Murray and his girlfriend were hoping to get married in June and Murray had hoped to start a new job next week.
Murray of Gilbert Road, Newton Abbot pleaded guilty to assaulting Mr Rowe causing him actual bodily harm and was jailed for 12 months.
Passing sentence Judge Philip Wassall told Murray: “You were out for the evening drinking with friends and the flippant remark should not have provoked you, it should have been taken as banter. Instead you took a pool cue and smashed it over his head.
“It was amazing that he remained standing after what was a substantial blow. The impact was unpredictable and the same blow could have had a far more serious result.
“It was purely a matter of luck and fortunate that he was able to leave hospital the following day. This sort of behaviour is prevalent and shocking and you have to take responsibility for what you did.”