A WELDER who glassed another man in a Boxing Day pub assault was tonight (Thursday, November 8) starting a lengthy prison sentence.

Peter Preston, 31, seriously injured Wayne Moss in the unprovoked attack at the King's Head in Willington, near Crook, County Durham.

He denied a charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent but was convicted after a two-day trial at Teesside Crown Court in July.

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Preston, of Hall Lane Estate, Willington, was jailed for five years by Recorder Michael Slater, who heard he still denies the offence.

The judge told him the sentence would have been longer had his victim not made such a good recovery from his sight-threatening injuries.

Mr Moss suffered two fractures to his face and nine cuts which needed 17 stitches after being struck by father-of-four Preston in a toilet corridor.

Preston insisted the wounds were inflicted during a “stampede” by others – including the victim's friends and door staff – to pull the two men apart.

His lawyer, Robert Mochrie, told the court: “This has clearly had a negative impact on Mr Preston's children and it is they who will suffer.

“It is still very much the case he denies he acted unlawfully and denies he used a bottle or glass or any other object to strike the complainant.

“Prior to his remand in custody, he was very much a family man, living with his wife and four children. He was working.”

Preston was remanded in custody following his conviction, but pleaded with Mr Recorder Slater: “I need to say goodbye to my children.”

The judge told him today that it was difficult to know which version of events from witnesses was the true one from December 26.

One claimed Mr Moss was smashed in the face with a bottle after he had been shoved over and as Preston pinned his arms down with his knees.

Another witness said the victim was bottled or glassed first and then repeatedly punched as he lay unconscious on the floor of the pub.

He told the court: “He was hitting him with clenched fists as though he wanted to kill him. I thought he was dead. There was blood everywhere.”

Mr Recorder Slater said: “I regard the complainant as having made a substantial recovery from his injuries, therefore, the sentence is not as long as it could have been had the injury been more long-lasting and significant.

“Happily, it would appear his injuries are now largely resolved in that respect, and he is not in any danger of losing an eye.”

The prosecution case was that Preston “without warning” smashed a bottle in the other man's face and repeatedly punched his as he was unconscious.

He was said to have blown kisses and made “a slashing motion” with his fingers across his throat as he was led away after the attack was stopped.

In an interview, he told police said he had drunk more than ten pints and was “merry” when he bumped into someone as he came out of the pub toilets.

He said he apologised and when he thought he was going to be head-butted, grabbed the other man in a bear-hug and pulled him to the floor.