Tree surgeon felled man with single punch - The Rugby Observer

Tree surgeon felled man with single punch

A TREE surgeon who felled a man with a single punch in a Rugby bar, fracturing his skull, has been ordered to pay compensation to his victim.

After initially claiming he had been acting in self-defence, George Lucas pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Lucas, 32, of Lutterworth Road, Shawell, near Lutterworth, was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for two years and ordered to do 180 hours of unpaid work.

The self-employed tree surgeon was also ordered to pay £800 compensation to his victim and £350 prosecution costs within 12 months.

Prosecutor Jason Arris said the incident took place in Bar 29 in Sheep Street, Rugby, on a Saturday night in August, where the victim had gone with some friends.

Lucas was also there, and on the dancefloor there was some sort of conversation between the two, during which CCTV footage showed the victim gesturing with his hands.

Lucas then swung a single punch at him, knocking him unconscious to the floor where he hit his head.

An ambulance was called when onlookers saw the victim was bleeding from his left ear.

He was rushed to hospital where it was found he had a hairline fracture to the left side of his skull and a bleed to the brain, said Mr Arris.

And two months later the victim, who said he did not know why Lucas attacked him, said his hearing was still impaired, and that the incident had affected his confidence.

When Lucas was interviewed after surrendering himself to police, he claimed he had been acting in self-defence, believing the victim had been about to hit him when he was gesticulating.

Graeme Simpson, defending, handed in nine references for Lucas, together with a newspaper article ‘in connection with a commendation he received from the police for what he did in a life-saving situation’.

That was a reference to an incident four years ago when Lucas waded into the fast-flowing water of a flooded ford to hook a towrope to a stranded car, in which there was a mother and her three children, before towing it to safety.

“He is a man of positive good character. He is clearly very highly respected in his community, and in every other respect a perfectly decent, law-abiding man of 32 years of age.

“This offence is highly out of character. He is utterly remorseful for what he’s done. He wishes nothing but the best for the victim of this assault.

“Whilst he accepts he was not acting in self-defence, there was, to an extent, a degree of provocation,” suggested Mr Simpson.

Sentencing Lucas, Judge Murray Creed told him: “It is not entirely clear what caused you to do what you did.

“You surrendered yourself to the police, and the letter of apology you have written shows genuine remorse. I regard this offence as out of character.”

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