Thug jailed after man was scarred

Joseph Shaw - problem with binge-drinking

Joseph Shaw – problem with binge-drinking

A drunken thug has been locked up for three years for scarring a man for life after he hit him in the face with a glass bottle following a booze binge.

Joseph Shaw, 19, had consumed ten pints of lager, ten alcopops and chased each one down with a shot of Aftershock before lashing out at his victim, Bradford Crown Court was told yesterday.

Simon Howarth, who had been at the Music at Myrtle festival in Bingley, was standing in the doorway of Abs Fast Food takeaway in the town centre, drinking from a glass beer bottle, late at night, on September 4 last year.

He saw Shaw, who was wearing a monitoring tag on his ankle as part of a sentence imposed for an affray, also committed while he was under the influence of alcohol, and made a joke at his expense.

Prosecutor Duncan Ritchie said Shaw, of Florence Avenue, Wilsden, threatened to punch Mr Howarth and then asked for a drink of his beer.

Mr Howarth handed the bottle over and as he reached to take it back Shaw swung it at the left hand side of his face, causing it to smash.

Mr Ritchie said: “He (Mr Howarth) soon became aware of a lot of blood coming down his face. Witnesses described skin and flesh falling away from his face and how it had to be held in place.” The wound ran from his lip to his cheekbone and extended to some of the cheek muscles.

In a statement read to the court by Mr Ritchie, Mr Howarth said: “It was so sudden and unprovoked. I am undergoing counselling at the moment. The left side of my face is tight when I smile and talk, I feel embarrassed and nervous when I go out. It’s not nice feeling like a freak show and like everyone’s looking at you.”

Bronia Hartley, for Shaw, said he knew he had a problem with binge drinking and it had not been a premeditated attack.

She said his remorse was shown by the fact he had written a letter to apologise to Mr Howarth.

Sentencing him to three years imprisonment in a young offender institution, Judge Jonathan Rose said: “Alcohol is the fuel that drives you and brings out in you a violent young man.”

He added: “Not withstanding that community order and the tag around your ankle, you drank and behaved with a boorish, bullying aggressiveness and the drunken young man lashed out with this bottle.”

After Shaw was locked up, PC Priscilla Haigh, of Airedale and North Bradford CID, said: “This was a particularly brutal attack which left the victim with serious and permanent injuries and we welcome the fact this has been recognised in court.”

Telegraph & Argus

Story published in Jan 2010.

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