A young man had to undergo three operations before surgeons were able to repair his smashed cheekbone after he had been attacked in a Leamington kebab shop.
But despite previous convictions for violence, attacker Kieran Herlihy has escaped being jailed after pleading guilty at Warwick Crown Court to inflicting grievous bodily harm.
Herlihy (23) of Buckley Road, Lillington, was sentenced to two years in prison suspended for two years, with conditions of attending a Resolve programme for 60 days.
Judge Sarah Buckingham also ordered him to take part in a rehabilitation activity and to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.
Prosecutor Rupert Jones said that in January last year Herlihy's victim was spending a Friday night out with a friend in Leamington, and they ended up in a busy kebab shop.
Herlihy was also in the kebab shop in Regent Street, and appeared to know his victim’s friend and spoke to him.
As other customers were being served, Herlihy became increasingly loud and boisterous, and when his victim made a comment, Herlihy threatened: “If you don’t shut up, I’ll stab you.”
A CCTV recording showed things seemed to quieten down, and Herlihy was talking to two young women when he suddenly lunged forward and punched
the young man twice to the side of his face as he was standing by the counter.
The young man’s friend got between them, but Herlihy swung another punch over that man’s shoulder.
One witness to the attack, who recalled the sound of the punches when they impacted with the victim's cheek, said the victim had seemed completely unaware the first punches were coming.
The young man was taken to hospital where it was found he had a fractured cheekbone, and he had to undergo an operation under general anaesthetic to repair the damage.
Unfortunately the cheekbone later collapsed, and he had to undergo another operation six days later – only for the same thing to happen, and he needed a third operation before it was finally fixed.
And as a result of the injury, he ended up being off work for three months, said Mr Jones.
When Herlihy, who had convictions for offences including common assault and assaulting a police officer, was arrested, he denied being the person shown on the CCTV recording.
Nick Devine, defending, said: “While he has convictions for disorder and the like, there’s no history of serious violence, and this is the first time he’s found himself in the crown court.”
Mr Devine pointed out that the incident was in January last year and Herlihy was interviewed in March that year, and ‘there is no reason why it’s taken the best part of a year to get him into court.’
But he pointed out that Herlihy had kept out of trouble for the past 16 months, has gained his CSCS card to enable him to work in the construction industry, and the recent birth of his child has given him ‘adult responsibilities.’
Sentencing Herlihy, Judge Buckingham told him: “It is inexplicable why it has taken so long for you to be charged.
“That may have helped you, but it will not have helped the complainant who will have wondered what has happened to the man who caused him such a serious injury.
“Witnesses have described hearing the sound of the punches, and you had to be held back.
“Your explanation was that you were drunk, and that you were showing off to those two females, but in that drunken state you have assaulted someone most severely.
“Your justification was to suggest that your experience of having been injured in a previous incident led you to act aggressively – but you started this incident, not your victim, and it is clear you struck him with some significant force.
“There is no question that your offending is so serious that a custodial sentence is justified, and a sentence of some length.
"The question is whether the sentence is one that is capable of suspension.”