A former Hartlepool man who who slashed a businessman across the neck with a broken champagne flute has been jailed for more than seven years.
John Mullen attacked Neil Parsons at the posh charity ball at a country hotel in scenes described in court as ‘like a horror movie’.
A mass brawl erupted at the Champagne and Lobster party in Hardwick Hall hotel in Sedgefield in April, 2012.
Mullen’s case took so long to come to court because he went on the run abroad and was arrested in Bulgaria in February last year.
Violence erupted at the ball after one of the guests sprayed champagne in the bar area, Teesside Crown Court heard.
Mr Parsons, 54, of Bishop Auckland, was there to provide portable toilets, but was slashed across the neck by Mullen after trying to break up the fight.
Mr Parsons was left with a gaping wound to his neck which required 167 stitches.
He lost more than six pints of blood and ‘nearly died’, the court was told.
In a statement read to the court, Mr Parsons said he has permanent nerve damage and has been unable to smile at photographs of his grandchildren.
“I feel fortunate that I did not lose my life,” he added.
Mullen, 50, now of Kearsley Road, Manchester, admitted wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm, and he admitted travelling on a false passport.
Stephen Meadowcroft QC, defending, said in mitigation: “Some of the scenes look like they are from a horror film, but they were not all to do with this defendant.
“Mr Mullen smashed the glass because he feared he would need to defend himself from one of those who had started the fight.
“He knows his behaviour was unacceptable and is ashamed of it.”
Sentencing Mullen to seven-and-a-half years in prison, Judge Sean Morris told him: “This was a charity ball, and the vast majority of the people at that function were good and decent people.
“They must have been horrified.
“It was like a scene out of the Wild West, if not worse.”
Two other men were dealt with in 2014 for their part in the fight.
Dwane Douglas, 48, of Sitwell Walk, Hartlepool, and David Garside, 29, of The Oval, Hartlelpool admitted affray after being involved in pushing and shoving.
Douglas was sentenced to six months in prison suspended for 12 months with 150 hours unpaid work.
Garside was given four months, suspended for 12 months, with a £500 fine and 100 hours unpaid work.