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Friday, 18 April 2014

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Student jailed by Carlisle court for shattering man’s jaw

A criminology student who shattered a man’s jaw in a sustained assault and later brandished a meat cleaver at one of his victim’s pals has been jailed.

David Keefe, 20, denied both offences as well as a charge of affray but he was convicted after a trial.

At Carlisle Crown Court, Recorder Paul Lawton said the convictions were a tragedy for Keefe, who had overcome a difficult childhood and studied hard to win a place at university.

The trial heard how Keefe turned violent during a confrontation with another student in December last year.

At the time Keefe was living in University of Cumbria halls of residence at Fusehill Street and he had been trying to complete coursework as students in nearby rooms socialised.

He began arguing with Daniel Johnson, and at one point offered to “take it outside,” the court heard. Witnesses then saw Keefe, of Spencer Street, Carlisle, hit Mr Johnson, knocking him out. He continued to hit the other man even after as he lay unconscious on the ground. Mr Johnson’s jaw was so badly shattered that surgeons had to operate and insert a metal plate.

David Birrell, for Keefe, suggested he had suffered “some degree of provocation”.

But, said the barrister, Keefe had continued to deny confronting one of his victim’s friends in an incident when he disguised himself and brandished a meat cleaver on a Carlisle street.

Mr Birrell said that Keefe was terrified by the prospect of custody.

Outlining his Keefe’s background, the barrister said: “He was raised in care, didn’t know his father, and at the age of three he was taken from his drug addicted mother, and there followed a number of placements with foster families.

“Despite all of his problems, he went on to make something of himself.”

He said Keefe was a man with a real passion for learning, but he threw it all away in just two nights “of utter stupidity.”

For inflicting grievous bodily harm on Mr Johnson, Keefe was sent to a young offenders institution yesterday for 12 months. For the affray, and possessing a bladed article in public he was given a further six months consecutive, making a total of 18 months.

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