Attack duo spared jail

TWO men accused of hustling Anthony Murtagh in a £1 pool game in a Bridling-ton pub have been spared prison after giving him a beating which put him in hospital.

Reece Hardy, 23, of Gypsy Road, and David O'Grady, 22, of Bow Street, Bridlington, claimed they were in the wrong place at the wrong time when they started playing pool with Mr Murtagh in the Mermaid pub.

Mr Murtagh, 41, allegedly became aggressive after losing a game and accused them of hustling money from him, Hull Crown Court heard last Friday.

Both men left, but Mr Murtaugh followed them into the pub toilet where he continued to complain he had been hustled and grabbed O'Grady, pinning him to the floor. O'Grady responded by punching him five times, which he accepted was over the top, said Crown barrister Nicholas Adlington.

Hardy pleaded guilty to a charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm and O'Grady admitted a charge of causing actual bodily harm after blood was found on both his shoes.

Mr Adlington said Mr Murtagh went to hospital the next day. He was treated for multiple cuts, a facial swelling, a broken nose, a fractured jaw, injured rib, cuts to his fore-arm and blood in his urine.

Defending Hardy, barrister John Thackray said Hardy accepted he was involved in punching but not kicking.

He said he had seen Mr Murtagh on the day of the trial and he was almost double the size of Hardy.

"He had the appearance of being a body builder," said Mr Thackray.

"The complainant has three previous convictions for causing actual bodily harm, common assault and carrying offensive weapons. The defendant did the right thing and tried to walk away."

He said the confrontation started because Mr Murtagh continued to complain he had been hustled.

Mr Thackray said Hardy had gained work in the travel industry and was an under-12 football coach and knew of the high standards expected of him. He urged the judge to consider a non-custodial sentence even though he had a previous conviction for assault.

Defending O'Grady, barrister Laura Addy said: "He found himself in a difficult situation and tried to leave. He found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Judge Mettyear ordered O'Grady should be given 150-hours of unpaid work in the community and a three-month curfew between 8pm and 7am.

Judge Mettyear jailed Hardy for three hours while he decided what to do with him.

He told him: "What makes your case worse is you had a previous conviction for violence and you were kicking. Many cases I deal with result in death by kicking."

He said he had to take into account the complainant was being difficult and the violence Hardy used was over the top.

Hardy wept in the dock as he was told he would be given a nine-month suspended prison sentence, 200-hours unpaid work in the community and a three-month curfew.

The judge added: "It's been really close.

"Closer than you'll ever know."