DNA links man to pub attack

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A MAN was linked to an unsolved pub attack when he beat up his wife more than four years later.

Detectives never knew who was responsible for an assault on Edward Stokoe in the toilets at the White Lion pub in Houghton in December 2007, which left him with injuries including a fractured jaw which required surgery and a metal plate fitted.

Mr Stokoe, who had been celebrating his 40th birthday when he was attacked, told investigators he had been beaten by about three to four men, but none of them was traced.

More than four years later, in March last year, John Smith, 48, of Blind Lane, Houghton, was cautioned for attacking his wife during a row.

When a DNA sample was taken from him police matched his profile to the jumper that had been worn by Mr Stokoe on the night he was attacked.

Smith was arrested over the pub assault and admitted his involvement.

Prosecutors accept Smith’s account that he had punched and then tried to headbutt Mr Stokoe in the toilet cubicle, but then others continued the attack.

Prosecutor Katherine Dunn told the court: “We cannot say which injuries this defendant actually caused. The Crown accept he did not cause the fractures.”

In a victim personal statement Mr Stokoe, who also suffered a fractured rib and a cut head and lip in the assault, told police he just wanted justice to be done.

He said: “I am getting on with my life.”

Mr Recorder Phillips sentenced Smith to a community order for 12 months with 200 hours’ unpaid work and £250 compensation to be paid to Mr Stokoe.

The judge said: “You were not responsible for all the injuries and The Crown are unable to point to any specific injury you were responsible for, save to say you have admitted you did assault Mr Stokoe, causing him actual bodily harm.”

David Callan, defending, said the incident involving Smith and his wife came at a time when the family were under enormous stress due to personal tragedies.

Smith, who has admitted assault, had never been in trouble before the 2007 attack.

Mr Callan said: “The defendant did not know the police were looking for him.

“He lives in the local area and always has done.”

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho