E-boxer broke man’s jaw over derby match accent jibe

Graham Nelson

Graham Nelson

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AN ex-boxer fractured a man’s jaw in two places in an attack after he was teased about his accent.

Graham Nelson, 31, lashed out with his fists on Christmas Day after Mark Butler, 21, heard his south Durham accent in a Sunderland bar and jumped to the conclusion he must support Middlesbrough Football Club, a court heard.

Newcastle Crown Court was told there was some rivalry between the Sunderland AFC fans and Middlesbrough supporters as the teams were facing each other in the FA cup.

Nelson, who actually supported neither team, lashed out after the drunken confrontation led to his designer shirt being pulled at and three buttons popping off, the court heard.

Prosecutor Paul Wardlaw told the court the men first came into contact inside the Little Cuba bar in Sunderland city centre in the early hours of Christmas Day last year, but the violence broke out outside.

The court was shown CCTV of Nelson throwing punches at Mr Butler’s face.

Mr Wardlaw said: “He accepted he had been a boxer in the past, had boxed for some years and would know how to hit someone.”

Nelson, of High Street East, Sunderland, admitted causing grievous bodily harm and having a bladed article in relation to a razor he was carrying to cut cocaine.

Christopher Morrison, defending, told the court: “He was approached by the man he eventually assaulted, seemingly about his accent.

“He has a south Durham accent.

“At the time Sunderland were playing Middlesbrough in the FA Cup and there was some needle between them.

“He has no interest in football and is actually from Darlington.

“His accent attracted the attention of the man at the bar. He was repeatedly asking where he was from and asking to see his Facebook page.

“The defendant wanted nothing to do with him.”

Mr Morrison said it was when Nelson, a voluntary worker, turned away his shirt was pulled.

Mr Morrison said the trouble started outside when he saw Mr Butler again, who he said was being “argumentative” with others.

Judge Richard Lowden jailed Nelson for 12 months.

The judge told him: “It was you who escalated it into violence.

“In the course of this you struck him a number of times about the face and did him some significant damage.

“You fractured his jaw in two separate places and caused him very considerable pain, hospital appointments and so on.”

Twitter: @sunderlandecho