Innocent golfer caught up in fight

EX-SOLDIER Lee Williamson has been given a suspended nine-month jail term for lashing out and punching a 66-year-old man in a Bridlington pub.

Williamson, 31, joined in trouble when it started in The George, Prince Street, punching Mr Graham Lennard in the eye so badly he needed hospital treatment with a seven-stitch wound.

Mr Lennard, who also suffered secondary neurological pain, was an innocent bystander who had done nothing more than sit at the bar after travelling from West Yorkshire to enjoy a golfing weekend.

Hull Crown Court heard on Friday a barmaid, who knew Williamson, saw him throw at least two punches after trouble flared on July 30th last year.

Crown barrister Jharna Jobes said in a victim statement given by Mr Lennard: “Part of my eyebrow is missing. I get headaches. It has stopped me going out to see friends.” He said he lost £127 by not being able to take his golf break and had to pay for his own taxi to hospital.

Williamson, of Milner Road, Bridlington, had eight previous court appearances for 11 offences. In an assault on a doorman, he had been fined £500 and given 14 days imprisonment in September 2009.

Barrister John Thackray, defending, said Williamson spent 14 years in the Army and seen terrible things. He is was now receiving counselling for post-traumatic stress disorder.

He said he had been given a large cash lump sum, but that now had all gone and he was jobless.

“He realises where he has gone wrong and is hopeful that he can rejoin the Army again,” said Mr Thackray. “That very much depends on the outcome of this hearing.”

Passing sentence, Recorder Richard Sheldon said: “You are skating on very thin ice. With a record such as yours, the only sentence I can impose is one of custody, but I can suspended it.

“You have served your country well for a large number of years. It has left a legacy of a large number of complex problems. This has put pressure on your marriage and personal life. I don’t see why Mr Lennard should not be compensated.

“He is a law-abiding man who did nothing more than travel to the coast to play golf. He came away with injuries to his eye and nose and other parts of his body.”

He ordered Williamson, who pleaded guilty to a single charge of assault, should be given a nine-month suspended prison sentence, pay £1,000 compensation, complete 120-hours unpaid work and keep out of licensed pubs and clubs for six months.