Four years for thug who smashed face of man who told him to ‘act his age’ in Hartlepool bar

BEHIND BARS: Darren Keenan was jailed for four years after pleading guilty to grievous bodily harm with intent and breach of a suspended sentence.
BEHIND BARS: Darren Keenan was jailed for four years after pleading guilty to grievous bodily harm with intent and breach of a suspended sentence.

A RAGING reveller who was on a suspended prison sentence for a nightclub attack left a new victim with a smashed face.

Welder Darren Keenan, 27, was watching big-screen soccer in a bar when he had to be dragged off the victim by his friends as a terrified barmaid hid in the toilets.

Apart from his clear problem of losing his temper when in drink, he is a valued member of the community. He understands that he owes it to the public to get some treatment while he is in custody.

Rod Hunt, defending

His lawyer said Keenan, who left the teenager with a fractured jaw and cheekbone, now realises he needs help to tackle his drinking and his temper.

Prosecutor Harry Hadfield told Teesside Crown Court the 19-year-old victim was watching the match in the Pearl Bar at the Grand Hotel in Hartlepool at 3.30pm on March 16 last year when Keenan asked him if he had a problem.

The teenager stood up and he was to tell Keenan and his friends to act his age.

The group started to shout at him and he sat down, as a glass was thrown towards him and beer splashed over him.

Keenan then pushed two women out of the way and pushed the victim to the floor as two other men, who were not traced, became involved.

Keenan got on top of him and repeatedly punched him in the face until he was dragged off.

One man kicked him in the head, and he was left so scared that he moved back in with his parents and was still in pain a year later.

Keenan had four convictions for five offences, and in August 2013 he was given a 16-month jail sentence suspended for 24 months for wounding a man in a club in Victoria Road, Hartlepool.

Mr Hadfield said the Crown’s view of the latest attack was that it was a sustained assault, and Keenan had to be pulled off the victim or it would have continued.

Rod Hunt, defending, said Keenan had worked seven days a week to pay off £1,500 compensation to the 2013 victim, who alleged he had been holding a glass when he punched him.

Mr Hunt said: “Apart from his clear problem of losing his temper when in drink, he is a valued member of the community.

“He understands that he owes it to the public to get some treatment while he is in custody.

“His whole family are in the public gallery, they know what a decent person he is when he is sober.”

The judge told Keenan she had watched a CCTV recording of the attack and he owed a debt of gratitude to the friends who pulled him off the victim.

Recorder Alison Hunt said: “I understand from your counsel and the pre-sentence report that you have recognised now the effect that alcohol has on you in losing your temper and you have decided to get help.”

Keenan, of Rosthwaite Close, Hartlepool, was jailed for four years after pleading guilty to grievous bodily harm with intent and breach of the suspended sentence.