AN ASSAULT which left an off-duty soldier with bone piercing the skin of his nose has resulted in the culprit being ordered to pay him £2,000 in compensation.
James Henry was also ordered to pay £500 costs after a judge at Warwick Crown Court told him he had escaped going to prison by the skin of his teeth.
Henry (25) of Ilmer Close, Rugby, had originally denied inflicting grievous bodily harm on Harrison Aylward – but changed his plea to guilty on the day of his trial.
Following an adjournment for a pre-sentence report to be prepared, he was sentenced to 18 months in prison suspended for two years, with supervision for 18 months.
In addition Judge Andrew Lockhart QC imposed a 7pm to 6am electronically-tagged curfew for three months, as well as ordering him to pay compensation and costs.
Prosecutor Paul Mytton said the incident happened in August 2013 at the Boutique Bar in Rugby town centre.
Mr Aylward, an off-duty soldier, was on the dancefloor when Henry, who was clearly drunk, angrily grabbed a young woman by her arm.
When he was pulled away he transferred his aggression to Mr Aylward and punched him hard to the face, causing an open fracture – where the bone pierces the skin – to his nose.
Mr Aylward has a severe scar and still has difficulty with his sense of smell and with breathing through his nose as a result of the injury.
And Judge Lockhart observed: “He finds it difficult to get treatment because he is constantly being posted abroad.”
Henry’s barrister said he had been drinking heavily that night, has since expressed remorse for what he did and has now settled down into a relationship, a job and a mortgage.
Sentencing Henry, Judge Lockhart told him: “Drink has been a feature and is still a problem for you.
“You punched him hard to the face. It was an appalling piece of behaviour.
“There has been a delay which was not your fault, but had you pleaded guilty at the first opportunity this matter would be long gone by now.”
And suspending the sentence, the judge warned Henry: “You have escaped 18 months immediate imprisonment by the skin of your teeth.
“If there is any breach of this order you will be back before me, and I will send you to prison.”