Football fan cut rival supporter's face with glass when 'banter' got out of hand

A football fan who cut a rival supporter's face with a piece of glass when "banter" about their teams got out of hand has kept his freedom.

Monday, 16th August 2021, 6:38 pm
Updated Monday, 16th August 2021, 6:39 pm

Darren O'Neil, 24, was drinking at a bar in South Shields with his partner when trouble flared with the victim, who was left needing hospital treatment.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the men aren't friends but did know each other prior to the confrontation.

Mr Recorder Andrew Smith said: "On September 2, 2020 you were in a public house, dare say going out.

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Newcastle Crown Court.

"It was not your intention to get involved in any trouble but you had been drinking and later on in the evening, in the early hours of the morning, you came across the complainant.

"There was issues in regards to your competitive football clubs and as a result of that there was a bit of, what he describes as, banter."

Violence flared during the confrontation when O'Neil threw a punch at the victim's face.

The court heard was unclear whether it was a piece of glass or a bottle O'Neil was holding when he hit his victim, but it left a permanent scar under his eye.

Prosecutor Rachel Glover told the court that the original cut to his face was five by four centimetres long which required a stitch at the time.

O'Neil, of Ennis Court, Sanderson Villas, Gateshead, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning grievous bodily harm.

He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for 12 months and must complete 20 rehabilitation days and 150 hours of unpaid work.

The judge added: "The reality is the prosecution are not suggesting you hit him deliberately, the reality is in the heat of the moment you lost your temper.

"I do take the view there is a realistic prospect of you being rehabilitated. There are a number of witnesses who speak highly of you."Andrew Turton, mitigating, said that that O'Neil is extremely sorry but told the court that the scar ‘was not the worst’.Mr Turton also noted his client has the tendency to lose his temper after drinking but added: "He pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity."He is someone who gets off his chair and does stuff himself – he self-funded his business."O'Neil must also pay £1,000 of compensation to his victim.

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