A FATHER who was crossing a road in Wigton to speak to his daughter was felled with a single punch from a man he did not know.

Magistrates heard how John Harrison suffered a fractured cheek and eye-socket as a result of the unprovoked attack, which came without warning and took him completely by surprise. Kieron Scott Routledge, 25, denied any wrongdoing, claiming he acted in self-defence.

But after hearing the evidence, magistrates sitting at Carlisle’s Rickergate court declared him guilty of assault causing actual bodily harm.

Giving evidence, Mr Harrison said he had enjoyed a night out with his wife, his daughter and her boyfriend, and friends, on the evening of Saturday, August 4 last year.

They had been to various pubs, and finished the evening at the Legion pub in West Street, Wigton.

During the course of the night out, he consumed around eight pints and three bottles of lager, but he was not drunk, he said.

At around midnight, he went outside for a cigarette and while there spotted his daughter standing across the road with friends.

He said: “I started walking across the road to see her and the next thing I knew I was lying on my back in the middle of the road. I felt a smack on my face. It knocked me over and I smacked my head on the road.”

His head was bleeding. The following day, doctors confirmed he had fractures to his eye socket and cheek bone. At no point was he agressive, he said. His daughter Charlotte Harrison said that during the evening she drank seven single vodkas, which had little effect on her.

Describing events outside the pub, she said: “I was talking to my friends when I saw my dad come out for a fag. He was coming over to talk to me.”

That was when she saw Kieron Routledge run across the road and punch her father, knocking him to the ground. She asked the defendant why he did it but he said nothing, and did not seem bothered, she said.

In evidence, Routledge said he drank four vodka and cokes that night. Inside the pub, he said, a drink was spilled, and some of it went over Mr Harrison’s wife.

He accused her of reacting agressively. In his police statement, he admitted throwing drink over his girlfriend during a row. But in court he denied this.

Outside the pub, he said, Mr Harrison followed him and grabbed him. “He had a intention to do something to me,” he said. He hit Mr Harrison - but only once and in self-defence, he said. Prosecutor Peter Kelly said he had lied about that night.

“You knocked him to the floor in an unprovoked assault as he was crossing the road,” said the lawyer. Routledge replied: “No.”

The defendant’s sister Chanice said Mr Harrison’s wife had “got in Kieran’s face with a glass’ after the drink spilling incident.

Outside the pub, she said, she saw Mr Harrison going after the defendant but she did not see any violence. Mr Kelly said she was simply trying to protect her brother.

After the trial, the court was told that Routledge, a tree surgeon, of High Street, Wigton, has three previous assault convictions. Magistrates jailed him for 110 days - 60 days for the assault on Mr Harrison, and 50 days which was a suspended sentence for an earlier assault and criminal damage.