Thug broke love rival’s jaw in unprovoked attack at Asda in South Shields

Anton Smith
Anton Smith

A shopper had his jaw broken when he was punched in the face by a love rival as he stood at a busy supermarket checkout.

Anton Smith attacked his victim from behind as he queued to be served at the Asda store in South Shields on March 30.

Witnesses said the 24-year-old was jumping about in a “boxing stance” after he launched the blow.

He then threw a second punch, which struck a glancing blow on a woman who had tried to stop the trouble. She was unhurt.

Prosecutor Stuart Graham told Newcastle Crown Court: “The complainant had walked around the shop for a little while.

“Eventually he attended the checkout. He said the next thing he knew was a blow to the left side of his jaw. He had been punched from behind by the defendant.”

The court heard Smith left the store after the trouble broke up and the victim went to hospital, where his fractured jaw was wired.

Smith told police there had been threats made towards him on Facebook and admitted he “saw red in Asda”.

Mr Graham added: “The partner of the complainaint used to be the girlfriend of this defendant.

“That is obviously something to do with it. He said he saw red and punched him.

“He was angry, but didn’t want to inflict any serious harm, he just wanted to punch him.”

Smith, of Sinclair Meadows, South Shields, admitted causing grievous bodily harm.

Mr Recorder Ray Singh sentenced him to a community order for 18 months, with a three-month curfew from 9pm to 6am.

The judge told Smith: “It is to your significant credit when you were spoken to by the police you freely admitted what you had done wrong.

“You said you had seen red, no doubt seeing the complainant with your ex-partner.

“Whatever the rights and wrongs, what you did really was without any justification.

“It was in a public place, where people were shopping, no doubt in a busy store, at a checkout, when the complainant had his back to you.”

The court heard Smith pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and has never been in trouble before.