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Attacker avoids jail after punch shattered bouncer's jaw

Father-of-four left requiring surgery in order to put his jaw back together after asking teenage man to leave club

Guildford Crown Court

A drunk reveller who landed a single punch in the face of a doorman in Camberley, breaking his jaw in two places, has avoided an immediate jail sentence.

Thomas Langley, 19, of Frogmore Park Lane in Blackwater, hit bouncer Mark Cooper outside Tru nightclub in December, "ruining the life" of his victim, a court heard.

Langley turned violently on Mr Cooper when the father of four asked him to leave the club because of his drunken behaviour.

Mr Cooper required extensive surgery to put his jaw back together – and is still feeling the effects of the injury.

Langley admitted the punch at the scene and pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm (GBH) at the earliest opportunity, in court on June 13.

At Guildford Crown Court last Friday (July 11), Langley was sentenced to 30 weeks in prison, suspended for two years.

'Unprovoked'

Recorder Richard Prior said Langley – previously of good character – should consider the effect on Mr Cooper of his "very serious offence".

“That one heavy punch had extremely serious repercussions,” he said.

“It was unprovoked, unjustified and unwarranted. It has, without exaggeration, ruined his life.

“One hopes he’ll be able to get his life together and resume something resembling what he had before you punched him. At this point in time, however, it looks very serious.”

Prosecutor Rachel Davies said the offence took place on December 12 while Mr Cooper was working as a member of door staff at the nightclub in Camberley High Street.

She explained Mr Cooper told Langley to go home after he started making threats to the door team, before pushing him away when Langley clenched his fists.

It was then Langley hit Mr Cooper to the left side of the jaw, said Ms Davies.

Early plea

In a statement read out by the prosecutor, Mr Cooper said he was no longer able to work and provide for his four children.

Mr Cooper said he felt "permanently scarred" having lost feeling in his lips, which meant he no longer felt a connection with his children when he kissed them goodnight, nor was he able to eat his Christmas dinner.

Defending Langley, Lance Whiteford said the teenager, a trainee plumber, accepted Mr Cooper had suffered "very unpleasant" injuries.

“The blame doesn't lie anywhere else than with this young man,” he said. “He was drunk, lost his temper and landed a punch with devastating effects.”

Mr Whiteford added Langley was typically a polite, hard-working young man, who had suffered difficulties in his childhood.

Recorder Prior said Langley’s age, previous good character, prospects and early guilty plea were enough to spare him an immediate custodial sentence.

He was also sentenced to 170 hours’ unpaid work, a compensation order of £1,200, payable to Mr Cooper, and a victim surcharge of £100.

 
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