Attacker hit sleeping man in face with wooden bat

An attacker who hit a sleeping man in the face with a wooden bat and caused fractures has kept his freedom.

By Karon Kelly
Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 2:16 pm

Gavin Hall lashed out when the man nodded off at a flat, where they and others had been "drinking and having a laugh" in July 2019.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the blow, described by the victim as "violent and brutal" caused instant pain and fractures to his eye socket, which has had long term affects.

The man's girlfriend, who witnessed the attack at the flat in Hebburn, said she initially thought Hall was about to play a practical joke when he approached his sleeping victim with a bat and believed he would have hit the sofa to wake him suddenly, or similar.

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Gavin Hall.

But instead, he "swung the bat back full force and smacked it into his face".

The victim told police he woke just as Hall was "swinging the bat backwards then forwards, hitting me square in the face".

He said he then "passed out for a few minutes" before he went to the bathroom and saw his face was "covered in blood".

When confronted about what he had done, Hall simply said: "I've done it now, what's done is done."

The injured man had an X-ray, CT scan and MRI and was diagnosed with misplaced fractures of his eye socket but did not require surgery.

He was left with blurred vision, pain, numbness, difficulty opening his mouth and a small risk of permanent altered sensation to the left side of his face.

The victim, who is now in HMP Durham, has since withdrawn support for the prosecution of Hall.

Hall, 36, of Ellen Road, Jarrow, admitted causing grievous bodily harm.

Nick Peacock, defending, said Hall has since suffered life changing injuries himself and "effectively lost everything".

Mr Recorder Christopher Rose sentenced Hall, who he said would have gone to prison were it not for the injuries he suffered in a car crash, to 18 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with 200 hours unpaid work.

The judge said the attack was "no doubt because of what you had to drink and perhaps because of previous ill feeling” between Hall and the man.