Sunderland man attacked doormen with pepper spray after he was ejected from bar

The River Bar, in Washington.
The River Bar, in Washington.

A man who sprayed two doormen with pepper spray when they asked him to leave a bar has been spared jail.

Lewis Dowson was asked to leave the River Bar, in Fatfield, Washington, by two doormen after he became involved in an argument.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how the 30-year-old became aggressive when he was removed from the bar.

He told them he wasn't leaving unless his unless his girlfriend came with him and that he would be back with a shooter and they were "going to get it".

Christopher McKee, prosecuting, told the court: "He was seen outside wandering around, attempting to regain entry. He was refused by the same complainants.

"A vehicle appeared, the defendant got into the vehicle, behind the driver of the vehicle. He stayed there for a few minutes."

Mr McKee told the court how Dowson got out of the car, concealing what was in his hand, and ran towards the door staff where he was once again stopped.

The court heard how he then sprayed the doormen with a liquid substance.

One of the doormen was left temporarily blind after being sprayed in the face.

The other doorman, who ducked when the liquid was sprayed, felt the liquid substance hit his body but not his face.

He helped his colleague, who was unable to see, to the bathroom to get cleaned up.

Mr McKee told the court how both men feared they may be left blind or scarred following the attack.

Police officers took items of the doormen's clothing and discovered the liquid was pepper spray.

When interviewed by police, Dowson said he had no recollection of the evening.

He was adamant he did not get into a vehicle and was not in possession of pepper spray or a liquid substance.

Mr McKee told the court how both doormen identified him as the attacker.

The court heard how Dowson said 'If they have id'd me it must have been me, I can't remember much about being in there and I'm deeply sorry'.

Mr McKee told the court how Dowson admitted he was the man in the CCTV footage.

He said at the end of the police interview: "I'm deeply remorseful, I don't know if I can apologise to them for my actions."

Dowson of Donvale Road, Washington, admitted two counts of common assault and having an offensive weapon.

Paul Rooney, defending, told the court: "He showed remorse in the interview.

"He's thoroughly ashamed of his behaviour maintains that wish that he is allowed to apologise to his victims.

"At this time in his life his grandmother had died, he had broken up with his girlfriend.

"To put it bluntly he had gone off the rails.

"He realises he has a problem when he consumes alcohol."

Mr Rooney told the court how Dowson was in the Royal Air Force when he was 17 but had to come out as he suffered from shin splints.

He told the court how he got a job in the wind turbine industry and is now in a new relationship.

Judge Penny Morland told Dowson: "You did not take kindly to the doormen inviting you to leave.

"You obtained a can of pepper spray which you used to spray at the doormen.

"Both of them were both understandably terrified by what you did.

"They had no way of knowing you were using pepper pray and not something which could cause more permanent damage."

Judge Morland sentenced Dowson to six months in prison suspended for 12 months with a 30-day rehabilitation activity requirement and 150 hours unpaid work.