Nightclub assault victim awarded compensation

A teenager who was viciously assaulted in a Teesside nightclub has been awarded £6,000 in compensation from his attacker.

17-year-old student, Daniel Busby, was in Silk’s Nightclub in Redcar when he was assaulted by 23-year-old Stephen Petch on 1 April 2007. Daniel suffered two fractures to his lower jaw when a drunken Petch punched him in the face in an unprovoked attack at around 1am.

Mr Petch escaped a prison sentence today at Teesside Crown Court but was given a 12 month suspended sentence for 12 months with supervision and ordered to pay £6,000 compensation to his victim within 28 days.

Daniel spent five days in hospital following the attack and had to undergo extensive surgery on his jaw to realign it. He also had metal buttons placed on his teeth to keep them in line and to help with his speech. He admits it was a long road to recovery and he was unable to play football for six months and will never be able to play rugby again.

Prosecutor Harry Hadfield said in court how witnesses had described the attack as unprovoked. Moments before Petch’s attack, Daniel had been pushed off his stool by another man, who swore at him and accused him of taking his seat. Daniel said: “I remember just not wanting to be a part of it, just ignoring it and looking away. As I was looking back Stephen Petch hit me before I had a chance to look at him. I’m a big guy and it knocked me off my feet straight away. The pain was so much I knew my jaw was broken. I had no control of my jaw and the blood kept pouring out.”

Daniel, who lives with his parents in Skelton, said he still has a loss of sensation to his lower lip. “I was in hospital for about five days. I couldn’t really open my mouth or bite properly. I still don’t think I’ll be able to feel my bottom lip for the rest of my life.”

Petch, of Low Fold, Redcar, was charged with causing grievous bodily harm, which he admitted in court. His solicitor Kristian Mills said that he and his father were keen to compensate Daniel. Judge Benjamin Nolan said that a large amount of evidence pointed to an unprovoked attack with a “mighty punch”. He told Petch “you caused a significant injury”. But the judge did not give him a custodial sentence as this was his first conviction for violence.

Daniel and his family said of the sentence: “Justice has kind of been done. I personally think he should have gone to prison for it.” Daniel, who studies at Prior Pursglove College in Guisborough, was surprised by the level of compensation awarded to him. He said: “That, for me, at my age is a lot of money. I couldn’t believe it.” He said he intends to spend a bit of the money on a holiday with his girlfriend and put the rest towards university.

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