Yob attack in Sunderland street left man with shattered ankle

Attacker Martin Cairns after his paragliding accident.
Attacker Martin Cairns after his paragliding accident.
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A businessman says he has been left ‘in limbo’ after he was the victim of a vicious city centre attack.

Martin Cairns left his victim with such a serious ankle injury that medics were forced to operate and insert metal plates, after the early-hours attack in Park Lane, Sunderland on October 3.

The self-employed man was unable to drive for six weeks while his leg was in plaster, city magistrates heard.

Ironically, Cairns himself is unable to work after suffering serious leg injuries in a paragliding accident in Herrington Country Park six years ago, when he plunged 400 feet to the ground.

Now Cairns, 39, has been sentenced to one month’s imprisonment, suspended for a year.

Prosecutor Claire Irving said the victim remembers walking along the street during a night out.

“The next thing he can remember is being in a wheelchair, sat in the smoking area outside Sunderland Royal Hospital’s A&E department, with a lot of pain in his face and his left ankle,” she added.

“He spent five days in hospital and had surgery for a fracture to his left ankle and ligament damage. He also has bruising and swelling to his right eye and numbness to his jaw and face.”

He was told by police and family that he had been assaulted outside The Point nightclub, but was unable to recall the circumstances.

The court was shown CCTV footage which shows Cairns walking away from the victim, before returning moments later to punch him in the face, causing him to fall backwards.

Cairns told police he had been confronted by a group of males inside the club and that, once outside, one of them approached him and made threats.

Ms Irving added: “The injured party was not involved in the original altercation.”

Cairns pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He has 18 convictions from 35 previous offences.

The victim said in a statement: “This incident has had a massive impact on my life. I’m a self-employed business owner and due to my injuries, I’ve been unable to work. I’m now in plaster for six weeks and I’m unable to drive. My wife has had to take time off work to look after me and I’m genuinely concerned about how we are going to pay the bills.

The victim added that he had been in the process of hiring new staff, and the attack had left him ‘in limbo’.

Peter Thubron, defending, said Cairns had only intended to give the victim a black eye.

He said: “He hit him in the face, causing a bruised eye. He fell backwards and it seems as though that’s when his ankle was damaged. He never intended to do anything other than punch him.

“It’s unfortunate and regrettable that the man suffered other injuries as he fell over.

“He is not the sort of person who wants to break someone’s bones, he is the sort of person who just reacted and intended to give somebody a black eye.”

Cairns, of Front Street, Shotton Colliery, was also told to pay £85 costs, an £80 victim surcharge and £125 compensation to his victim.