Reveller punched stranger near Sunderland taxi rank

A man who punched a stranger on a drunken night out after accusing him of insulting his friend has avoided jail.

Monday, 20th September 2021, 2:13 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 10:10 am

James Allsopp and his victim had been drinking separately before they met near a taxi rank in Sunderland in the early hours of July 22 2018.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the victim was sitting on a bench eating some food when he was approached by Allsopp, who believed his female friend had been called the insult by him.

Prosecutor Anne Richardson said that the complainant had been out drinking with his brother in Sunderland city centre before deciding to walk to Park Lane Taxi Rank to return home at around 3:30am.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

James Allsopp

She told the court that the man was approached by Allsopp who asked him what he had said to a passing group of females, but the next thing he knew he was waking up in hospital in "considerable pain".

Ms Richardson added: "Although he gave a statement in August of that year, it wasn't until the 7th of January 2019 where the defendant was interviewed.

"He accepted he punched him once but said: 'He was starting on lasses and was going to hit these girls'.

"Although it may have been short-lived it was spontaneous.

"It may have been one punch, it may have been in the heat of the moment but it was not his argument or his fight and he left a young man on the ground."

The court heard that the victim was discharged from hospital the following day at his request but he had suffered bruising and tenderness as well as a right frontal bone fracture which extended to the orbital roof.

Allsopp, 24, of East Vines, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to assault causing grievous bodily harm.

Tony Cornberg, mitigating, said that there was an allegation that Allsopp had also kicked the man, but this was something he had always denied.

Mr Cornberg added: "He always accepted hitting the man.

"For these three years he has been accused of kicking this man and he didn't do that.

"He takes full responsibility for what he did. He makes no excuses and offers an apology.

"His mother was really ill at the time and she sadly did died two weeks later.

"There have been significant lifestyle changes since. He spends his time now between his partner and his daughter instead of going out drinking."

Mr Recorder David Brooke told him cases like these would usually end up with immediate custody but the time spent since it took place had worked in thedefendant's favour.

The judge added: "You are lightly convicted, you have one previous matter for violence but this is your first time you have been in this situation.

"It seems that on both sides quite a lot of drink was taken. He (the victim) was sitting to go home.

"It seems he said something to a friend of yours which he undoubtedly shouldn't have said but you became involved.

"You decided that the way to deal with him was to hit him to the head."

However, the judge acknowledged Allsopp was in "some difficultly" at the time due to his mother's ill health which may have been a contributing factor.

He added: "You're only 24 but you have personal responsibilities that you have taken seriously."

The judge imposed a 12 month prison sentence suspended for 12 months with 150 hours of unpaid work.

Allsopp must also pay £2,500 in costs.