Thug attacked cousin during family party
ADRUNK thug who repeatedly punched his cousin at a family birthday party has avoided jail.
Shane Merryweather was attacked by Saul Stanton outside a house in Bacup on the afternoon of April 8 last year.
The victim was taken to hospital with a fractured cheekbone and ‘extensive swelling’ to his face.
Stanton, 23, pleaded guilty at Burnley Crown Court to ABH and was given a nine-month jail sentence, suspended for 12 months with a 25-day rehabilitation activity requirement.
Prosecutor Emma Kehoe said the incident happened after a ‘ confrontation’ between Stanton and Mr Merryweather’s sister Kerry Merryweather.
The court heard how the family were cele- brating a child’s birthday when Stanton ‘ became very agitated and angry’.
Miss Kehoe said Mr Merryweather ‘ came to his sister’s assistance’ and found Stanton being held back by another man.
The victim was ‘immediately attacked’ by Stanton who punched him to the face in a ‘completely unprovoked’ assault.
Mr Merryweather was punched a further two times before running off to his cousin’s house and calling the police.
Miss Kehoe said it was a ‘sustained assault’ and the victim suffered ‘a nasty injury’.
Defence barrister William Donnelly said Stanton was fined in 2015 for a battery offence.
He told the court: “There is an optimistic pre-sentence report with a constructive alternative to an immediate custodial sentence.
“Although he thought he was acting in self- defence he clearly went over and above anything that could be construed as such.
“It was a family party when he, and I don’t think he was alone, consumed far too much alcohol than was good for him.
“He’s a young man. There’s been no [offending] thing since this incident.”
The court heard how Stanton, of Wardle Edge, Rochdale, is awaiting a mental health assessment after referring himself to a doctor.
Sentencing, Judge Beverley Lunt said: “You had an excess of alcohol in what should otherwise have been a happy family occasion and you completely lost control.
“This was a nasty and sustained attack on your cousin, resulting in serious injury.
“Fortunately for you the fracture was not of a nature that required surgery.” ● Saul Stanton