A mild-mannered music teacher suffered serious brain injuries when he was attacked by a violent drunk in a Southport street.
Azeil Sweeney, 30, who has a long criminal record for violence, set on 56-year-old Stanley Partington after he innocently bumped into him and Sweeney dropped his mobile phone.
He accused the teacher of breaking it, saying he owed him £350 for a new one, and ignored his attempts to calm him down and punched him in the face knocking him to the ground where he banged his head and lost consciousness.
His friend, Seamus Riley, 65, who was also punched in the face when he tried to calm Sweeney down, told of his shock at seeing his pal felled and pointed out that as a former soldier he was not easily shocked.
Two ‘Good Samaritans’ who also intervened in the incident on Nevill Street in the early hours of September 25 this year, were also assaulted by Sweeney.
A judge ruled on Monday, (November 29) that Sweeney, of Bath Street, Southport, is a dangerous offender and jailed him for four years with an extended licence of two years.
He pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm, assault causing actual bodily harm and two offences of common assault.
Liverpool Crown Court was told that Mr Partington suffered bleeding within and around his brain and on the surface of the brain and at one time his condition was described as “touch and go.”
He has made some recovery but in a statement told how his eyesight has deteriorated and he is unlikely to be able to return to his teaching role before April because of ongoing problems.
As a result of his absence, planned school choir concerts at two hospitals have had to be cancelled and Mr Partington, described by his wife as “kind and mild-mannered” said that music was his life but he has been unable to continue with his life’s hobby.
The judge, Recorder Ian Unsworth, QC, told Sweeney that “four wholly innocent members of the public were subjected to wanton drunken violence.”
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Two members of the public, Gareth Evans and Christian King, who did not know each other or the victims, intervened and Mr Evans was punched in the face and Sweeney kicked Mr King on the arm before running off.
The court heard that the defendant, who has 28 previous convictions, half of them for violence, was the subject of a community order at the time of the offences.