A DRUNKEN teenager left a reveller with a fractured jaw that required surgery in an unprovoked attack.
Teesside Crown Court heard Jack Wilgress, 19, challenged victim Liam Martin and a friend to a fight in Hartlepool town centre.
This man was blamessJudge Howard Crowson
When they refused, Wilgress unleashed a vicious single punch.
Mr Martin, who had just started a new job with the Great North Air Ambulance, suffered a fractured jaw in two places and needed an operation to insert metal plates and wire his mouth.
Emma Atkinson, prosecuting, told the court Mr Martin and his friend were approached by Wilgress in Victoria Road, at about 1.30am on Saturday, September 20.
Miss Atkinson said: “Mr Martin said the defendant was shouting at him and threatened to ‘smash his face in.
“The defendant struck Mr Martin in the jaw. He felt immediate pain and his friend noticed he was bleeding.”
Mr Martin went to the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, but was referred to James Cook hospital in Middlesbrough. He underwent surgery to have two metal plates inserted in his mouth, needed stitching inside his mouth and to his face, and his mouth was wired after some of his teeth became loose.
In a victim statement read in court Miss Aktinson said: “He finds himself looking over his shoulder for the defendant or his friends.
“He has not been out socialising. It has had a major impact on his work.
“He describes this was an unprovoked attack which has caused him pain and distress.”
Wilgress admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm but escaped jail.
The court heard he had no previous convictions and his barrister said he had acted out of character.
Jim Withyman, defending, said: “On that night he drank more than he was used to.
“The defendant through me wishes to apologise to the victim.”
Wilgress, of Kipling Road, Hartlepool, was given 14 months prison suspended for 12 months with supervision and 100 hours of unpaid work.
He was also ordered to pay the victim £500 compensation.
Judge Howard Crowson said: “Your behaviour that night was obviously influenced through drink. You were aggressive.
“This man was blameless.”