Sunderland nightclub boss needed surgery after New Year’s Day attack

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A NIGHTCLUB boss needed surgery after a New Year’s Day road-rage attack.

Paul Smiles, 34, suffered a smashed cheekbone when joinery lecturer Davyd Ingram, 28, threw a “forceful blow” during a row over bad driving.

Newcastle Crown Court heard Mr Smiles, who runs the Independent nightclub in Sunderland, had an inflamed eyeball and a cut to the side of his head that needed stitches after the single punch.

New plans for his nightclub business had to be put on hold and he had to take on extra staff while he recovered from surgery to fix his fractured facial bone.

Prosecutor Caroline McGurk told the court Mr Smiles had been travelling in Sunderland city centre in his Mini Cooper when he encountered Ingram, who witnesses say was driving “erratically” in his Lotus at St Michael’s Way.

Miss McGurk said: “The defendant went on to cut the victim up at a roundabout.

“Mr Smiles sounded his horn as the defendant had nearly caused an accident.”

The court heard the men ended up getting out of their vehicles and Ingram was described as “aggressive and angry” during the confrontation.

Miss McGurk added: “Mr Smiles turned to point to the lane which the defendant should have been travelling.

“At this point, while the victim’s gaze was elsewhere and without having been offered any physical provocation whatsoever, the defendant punched the victim in the face.”

The court heard Mr Smiles’s face was “completely flat” straight after the attack and his eye was drooping.

When he arrived at hospital he began to vomit and his nose started bleeding.

The attack was witnessed by his horrified girlfriend.

Ingram, of Leechmere Road, Grangetown, Sunderland, admitted causing grievous bodily harm.

Judge Penny Moreland sentenced him to 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with six months of supervision, 150 hours’ unpaid work, £3,000 compensation and £1,000 costs.

The judge said: “This is aggravated because it was a road rage incident, so called, and it took place in public, in front of Mr Smiles’ girlfriend.

“I accept your remorse is genuine and I accept this was out of character for you.”

Glen Gatland, defending, said Ingram had just split with his girlfriend and was struggling to find permanent lecturing work at the time of the attack.

Mr Gatland said: “The defendant is very, very sorry for what happened.

“The defendant is of fairly small stature. When he saw Mr Smiles, he reacted when he was being shouted at and hit him.

“It will not happen again.

“He is thoroughly ashamed.”

The court heard Ingram has written a letter of apology which he hopes can be passed on to Mr Smiles via the prosecution authorities.