Hartlepool teen’s punch left sister needing 40 stitches to face

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A teenager left his older sister needing 40 stitches in her face after punching her following a row over a relationship she was having.

Ryan Johnson, 19, turned to violence because he disapproved of the relationship his sister was in, Teesside Crown Court heard.

You should regard your liberty as an opportunity which you should take advantage of.

Judge Peter Armstrong

Prosecutor Rachel Masters told the court Lauren Johnson, 24, blacked out following the single blow and had to be told by a neighbour what had happened.

“The cut in Ms Johnson’s face was wide enough for her to push her tongue through it,” said Ms Masters.

“She was reluctant at first to tell staff at the James 
Cook hospital how it had happened.

“But she is also concerned her brother is out of control, and does not understand he should not behave as he did.”

The court heard Johnson threw the punch after drinking four cans of beer.

He was seen with a knuckle duster earlier that day, but there is no evidence he used it on his sister.

Johnson, of Hornsey Square, Hartlepool, admitted unlawful wounding on June 27.

He has two previous convictions for offences of dishonesty, and was made the subject of a football banning order for running on to the pitch at Hartlepool.

Michael Bosomworth, defending, said in mitigation: “There is a considerable family background to this dispute, but matters are now simmering down.

“Mr Johnson is an immature individual who is also frightened of what may happen to him.

“That fear is masked by bravado, which can give others the wrong impression.

“He is not work shy and has applied to join the Army.”

Judge Peter Armstrong sentenced Johnson to 10 months in prison, suspended for two years, 100 hours of community work, and ordered him to pay £500 compensation to his sister.

The judge said: “Your lack of previous relevant convictions and your guilty plea has just enabled me to suspend the inevitable custodial sentence.

“You should regard your liberty as an opportunity which you should take advantage of.”

Johnson was made the subject of a restraining order banning him from contacting his sister for 12 months.