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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

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Carlisle 42-year-old fractured man's skull over cigarette

A man who fractured another man’s skull after hitting him during a night out in Carlisle has been spared jail because he showed remorse immediately afterwards.

Graham Weightman, 42, of Pennine Way, Harraby, hit Carl Smith in the jaw causing him to fall backwards and hit his head, Carlisle Crown Court was told.

But as soon as he had struck Mr Smith, he regretted what he had done and stayed with him until police arrived and as he received medical treatment.

The assault, which Weightman admitted, happened in the Lowther Arcade in Carlisle in the early hours of July 1 last year after Mr Smith had asked for a cigarette from Weightman.

The court was told that Weightman handed two men his tobacco tin but then thought that they were trying to make off with it.

Prosecutor Gerard Rogerson said: “A witness says Weightman swung his right hand out and made contact with Mr Smith in the area of his jaw. He fell to the floor and banged his head. It was a single punch.

“Mr Smith fell backwards and hit the back of his head against the ground.”

Mr Smith suffered a fracture to the back of his skull and a small amount of bleeding. He had to wear a neck brace for a month and was in hospital for three days.

He was referred to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary and Cumbria’s brain rehabilitation team and should make a full recovery.

Weightman stayed at the scene after the attack and, the court was told, showed “a great deal of concern” for Mr Smith. He co-operated fully with police.

Andrew Downey, for Weightman, said: “He regrets everything that happened and is very sorry for his actions. He is a well-liked and well-respected member of the community.”

Sentencing, Judge Peter Hughes QC, said: “This case demonstrates just how serious the potential consequences can be of just a single blow to somebody else’s head.

“From that blow he could have lapsed into a coma from which he could have never emerged.”

Weightman was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years and must carry out 150 hours of unpaid work in the community. He must also pay Mr Smith £2,500 compensation.

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