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  • Kitchen porter whose behaviour led to 'catastrophic leg injury' walks free from court

    Danielle Thompson

    A former kitchen porter whose attack on two men led to one suffering a “catastrophic” leg injury has walked free from court.

    Jason Baldwin had been asked to leave the Thatch and Thistle pub in Southport, where he worked, after “making inappropriate comments of a sexual nature,” to fellow porter Anthony Lopez.

    He was also ‘making a number of innuendos and perhaps advances towards him’ explained Paul Treble, prosecuting.

    Mr Lopez was uncomfortable about the situation and the landlord asked Baldwin to leave and he was escorted out by Sean Meadows, who was in a relationship with the landlord’s daughter.

    A little later Mr Meadows and Mr Lopez went outside for a cigarette and were surprised to see Baldwin was there with his partner, Roger Ruffles.

    “Words were exchanged and the partner became involved and the defendant then became aggressive towards Mr Lopez and Mr Meadows and launched a series of punches at Mr Lopez. As a result Mr Meadows became involved but was stopped by Baldwin’s partner,” said Mr Treble.

    “In the fracas Mr Meadows fell to the ground with the partner on top of him and as a result of the unlawful force used by the defendant he suffered a catastrophic injury to his knee. During the melee Mr Lopez suffered an injury as a result of being punched.”

    Mr Treble told Liverpool Crown Court that the prosecution accepted that the knee injury had been caused recklessly and Baldwin’s guilty plea to assault causing actual bodily harm had been accepted instead of facing a more serious charge.

    Mr Meadows was taken to Southport Hospital after the incident on November 11, 2018, where he underwent two operations and had his leg put in a cast. He was transferred to Broadgreen Hospital for two weeks and has been left with a 30cm scar after having 44 staples inserted.

    In his impact statement he told how he can no longer play five-a-side which he used to enjoy and had lost £800 as he and his girlfriend could not go on a booked holiday to Paris. He was told it would take 18 months for the leg injury to recover and will now be prone to arthritis.

    29-year-old Baldwin, of St Luke’s Road, Southport, pleaded guilty to two offences of assault causing actual bodily harm. The court heard that he has seven previous convictions including arson but has not been in trouble after being release from prison for that offence in 2012.

    Sentencing Baldwin, whose partner was in the public gallery, Judge Garrett Byrne told him on Friday, January 17: “Your conduct in the early hours of November 11 two years ago was quite disgraceful.

    “As a result of what you did Mr Meadows suffered a catastrophic, life-changing injuries. You are very lucky only to be charged with section 47 assault. You started this whole incident, you punched Mr Lopez several times and then joined in an attack on Mr Meadows.”

    He sentenced him to nine months imprisonment suspended for 12 months and ordered him to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and 30 days rehabilitation activities. He also ordered Baldwin, who is unemployed, to pay Mr Meadows £250 compensation within six months.

    Jane Greenhalgh, defending, said that Baldwin is ‘now practically a hermit’ because of his mental state. She said there were “two sides to every story” and it had been the defendant’s perception that something had been said to him which led to words being exchanged outside the pub and this led him “to overreact.”

    Ruffles, 39, of the same address as Baldwin, had denied causing grievous bodily harm and after the prosecution offered no evidence a formal not guilty verdict was recorded earlier this month.


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