Hebburn man jailed after one-punch attack that left victim unconscious

The Kelly, in Hedgeley Road, Hebburn. Image: Google Maps.
The Kelly, in Hedgeley Road, Hebburn. Image: Google Maps.

A devastated wife thought her husband was dead when he was knocked unconscious while acting as peacemaker after trouble flared after a pub party.

Steven Hodgson landed flat on his face after a powerful punch from behind by John Kyle, 28, who was a stranger to him.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the injured man was unresponsive on the ground outside The Kelly pub in Hebburn and his distraught wife Barbara believed he had been killed by the blow.

When she confronted Kyle in a “hysterical” state to ask him why he had targeted her husband, who was a stranger to him, he swore at her.

Kyle then smashed a glass internal door of the bar and armed himself with two knives from the pub kitchen, which he held in each hand while shouting “come on” at customers.

He was disarmed by a brave barmaid.

Mr Hodgson was taken to hospital with a fracture to his eye socket, which required no treatment, and had extensive bruising and grazing to his face.

Prosector Emma Dowling told the court Mr and Mrs Hodgson had attended a party at the pub while visiting the area.

It was at the end of the night that trouble broke out outside the bar and Mr Hodgson, who was not involved, said he had tried to act as a “peacekeeper”.

Miss Dowling added: “He could remember standing next to a bus stop just outside when he was punched, with force, from behind.

“That punch was witnessed by his wife. It caused him to fall straight to the floor.

“His wife stated she thought he was dead.

“He was not responding and initially she thought he had died.

“There were screams and people calling 999.

“The location where he had fallen meant he was partially on the road. People had to go out and stop traffic.”

The court heard Mrs Hodgson was “hysterical” at the scene.

Kyle, of Black Road, Hebburn, admitted assault, threatening another with knives and criminal damage.

Mr Recorder William Lowe QC sentenced him to 10 months behind bars.

The judge told him: “You took it upon yourself to punch him with such force he went down on the ground, unconscious.

“His wife thought he had died.”

Vic Laffey, defending, said Kyle has a stable home and family life and runs his own business, which a jail term could put under threat.

Mr Laffey said Kyle, who had been drinking “a lot”, remembers little about what happened that night.

Kyle has previous convictions but has been out of trouble for the last six years.