Violent outburst leads to prison

A BIZARRE outburst by a builder who had mislaid the keys to his flat led to him attacking a neighbour causing a serious eye injury. Stuart Thorn, 39, was jailed for two years for the attack on neighbour Colin Hancock in Durham Road, Stevenage, last Sept

A "BIZARRE" outburst by a builder who had mislaid the keys to his flat led to him attacking a neighbour causing a serious eye injury.

Stuart Thorn, 39, was jailed for two years for the attack on neighbour Colin Hancock in Durham Road, Stevenage, last September 17.

He pleaded guilty at Luton Crown Court to inflicting grievous bodily harm and affray.

Bill McGivern, prosecuting on Friday, said Mr Hancock and his family were celebrating their 22nd wedding anniversary, but were outside trying to repair a car.


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"The defendant appeared on the scene angry and agitated having misplaced the keys to his flat. He broke through a communal door and repeatedly kicked his own front door and was shouting and swearing.

"He was asked to calm down as there were children in the vicinity but he became aggressive towards the group. He kicked their car and threw a bag of rubbish at it. Then he punched Mr Hancock in the eye, knocking him unconscious."

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The court was told there had been fears he might lose the sight in that eye but that has not been the case. But the injury has had "emotional, physical and economical effects". He has permanent discomfort, double vision and cataract problems and has been advised not to drive or pursue his hobby of diving.

Thorn, who runs a building company, had previous convictions for violence and threatening behaviour.

Raj Shetty, defending, said: "He takes no gratification from this horrible act of violence and is thoroughly ashamed of himself. There is a good and a bad side to his personality.

"This was one punch that had unfortunate and serious consequences, but it was not a sustained attack."

Judge Geoffrey Breen told Thorn: "Your conduct on this occasion was bizarre, as it has been on previous occasions. You were violent and aggressive and totally unreasonable. Law abiding people trying to calm you down must have been in considerable fear and you caused a significant and serious injury.

"I accept you did not go on to visit him with more violence as some of those who come before the courts do.

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