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Monday, 20 October 2014

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Dad sick after he saw injuries he inflicted on victim

A father was physically sick after being shown photographs of injuries he inflicted on a man he beat up in a pub.

But despite the “appalling” injuries he inflicted on his victim Michael Harvey, 30, was spared a prison sentence – because he was needed too much at home to look after his handicapped son.

Carlisle Crown Court heard that Harvey, of Queen’s Crescent, Frizington, went out drinking after receiving an upsetting medical diagnosis on his young son.

By the time he reached the Roc Bar in Whitehaven he was falling out with his family and friends and threatening even them with violence, prosecuting counsel Kim Whittlestone told the court. And when he met Polish man Wlodek Szkopek in the pub’s toilets he threatened him too – apparently for no better reason than that he spoke to him in Polish.

Mr Szkopek, who could barely speak English, punched him in the face in self defence, breaking his nose, the court heard.

And Harvey retaliated by hitting him back and kneeing him three times in the face.

A third man in the toilets said he was so concerned for his own safety he backed away, so Harvey – whom he described as “out of control” – could not attack him too.

Mr Szkopek suffered “extreme swelling” to his face, with a wound in the middle of his forehead. Harvey was so appalled by what he had done he vomited when shown photos of his victim’s face.

Harvey, who had previous convictions for disorderly behaviour, pleaded guilty to racially aggravated grievous bodily harm.

Elizabeth Muir, defending, said Harvey could not explain why he had behaved as he had.

“He has never considered himself a racist,” she said. “He has friends from different racial backgrounds and his son is treated by doctors from different backgrounds.”

She said because of his son’s difficulties Harvey was a stay-at-home father, who was relied upon to look after the boy.

“Given the extreme family circumstances” she urged the judge not to send him to jail.

Judge Barbara Forrester agreed if he went to prison they would be the ones who would suffer most, not him.

Instead Harvey was given a 20-month jail term, suspended for two years, and ordered to attend a six-month alcohol awareness project. He must also pay a £100 victim surcharge.

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