Domestic dispute leads to jail term

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A man whose single punch caused another man serious head injuries and left him unconscious for around three weeks has been jailed for two and a half years.

Michael Townley struck out at 48-year-old Stephen Buckley after the the other man was seen kissing the defendant’s mother and an argument took place, with Mr Buckley following him afterwards.

The attack took place outside an address on Bloomfield Road, Fleetwood, where a 21st birthday party was being held for twins.

Mr Buckley suffered fractures to the base of his skull and a fractured right ear bone. He has since made a good physical recovery from his injuries.

Townley was seen to punch him once to the face in the incident last May and a woman passing by heard a “loud and terrible thud” as he fell backwards to the ground.

Townley, 25, of Clifford Street, Chorley had pleaded guilty to a charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Paul Brookwell, prosecuting, said Mr Buckley, a self-employed electrician, knew people at the party, joined in drinking and gave some money as a birthday present. He left the home to go elsewhere, but didn’t recall anything further.

He could only remember walking up in hospital around three weeks later on June 16.

Townley and other family members were said to have been incensed by Mr Buckley kissing the defendant’s mum. Mr Buckley was married to her sister.

A row followed, with the defendant trying to move his mother away from Mr Buckley. It was also suggested Mr Buckley had kept following Townley and his mum Sharon, so the defendant finally punched out.

Mr Waheed Omran-Baber, defending, said Townley had initially separated the mother and Mr Buckley after the kiss.

It then seemed they would kiss again and this caused the defendant to lash out.

He said: “It was a single punch, the consequences of which he never intended and certainly didn’t forsee. He accepts full responsibility.

“He is certainly sorry for what he has done. He understands the difficulties he has put Mr Buckley through and Mr Buckley’s family.

“As far as is possible, he wants to apologise to him, and to mend his ways. He is on the road to redemption”.

Judge Michael Byrne said it was about the ninth case he had dealt with in a week for violence in the street, fuelled by alcohol and where serious injury was caused.

He added: “Sadly, yet again, this case is another example of the link between drinking and violent behaviour.

“Our communities expect courts to do all they can to clean the streets from people who are violent and in drink and lash out.”