Father is jailed for breaking man's jaw in Dorchester pub

Father is jailed for breaking man's jaw in Dorchester pub

JAILED: Martin Smith arrives at court for sentencing

Samuel Howorth

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

A FATHER has been jailed after breaking a man’s jaw with a single blow in a Dorchester bar.

Martin Lewis Smith, 29, was sentenced to 14 months in jail at the hearing at Bournemouth Crown Court.

He was found guilty of grievous bodily harm in a trial last month.

The court heard that victim Samuel Howorth had to have a metal plate and 14 screws fitted to his jaw after the attack, and faces a further operation.

Speaking for the crown, Nick Robinson said: “The offence occurred in the early hours of New Year’s Day, 2011.

“The defendant was at the former Bar Rouge in Trinity Street, Dorchester.

“He was on the dance floor, as was the victim, and there was some banter which the defendant took exception to.”

He added: “The victim recalls being grabbed by the chest, punched once, forcefully to the jaw, and believes he was unconscious for a matter of minutes.”

Mr Howorth was unable to work for six weeks, and still cannot eat certain types of food because his jaw is misaligned, the court heard.

The bar in Trinity Street has since closed.

In mitigation, Mark Ruffell said father-of-three Smith, of Holbaek Close, Dorchester, had a difficult background.

He said: “Following a break-up he was homeless for 18 months and living in his car.

“In November, 2010 he found accommodation in Dorchester and shortly after he found employment with a roofing company. He is not a useless layabout who gets drunk and gets into fights.”

He added: “It was one punch, it was not pre-meditated, and the victim had done something to cause annoyance.”

Judge Peter Johnson described the offence as ‘very serious’.

He said: “It is quite clear there was an element of silliness going on that you both took part in.

“Mr Howorth continued dancing in a provocative way, wiggling his bottom about.

“Then you lost your temper, took off your glasses, gesticulated so he approached you.

“You grabbed hold of him and delivered a heavy blow to the jaw.”

Judge Johnson added: “This is a particularly serious form of grievous bodily harm.

“In my judgement there is only one sentence I can impose and that is one of immediate imprisonment.”

 

My life of 'absolute hell' after bar attack

SAMUEL Howorth has described his life since the attack as ‘absolute hell’.

The 23-year-old builder, of Melcombe Bingham, said he is unsure if he the injury to his jaw will ever completely heal.

He said: “There is an operation to have it broken and reset, but I’ll have to go and have it X-rayed first. They could turn around and say they can’t do anything.”

Mr Howorth still has a metal plate and several screws in his jaw.

He added: “I can’t use some of my teeth, because my jaw hasn’t healed right, so they don’t line up correctly.

“It means I can’t eat things like salad.”

He was in hospital for almost a week after the attack, and on a liquid diet for 12 weeks.

He said: “I couldn’t talk properly for a couple of months, and was off work for that period.

“The whole thing was such a long time ago.

“It is just such a major relief that it’s all out of the way.”

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