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Drunk who broke man's jaw in unprovoked town centre attack in Hartlepool is jailed
A DRUNKEN lout who broke a man's jaw in an inexplicable late-night attack is starting a 16-month prison sentence.
Peter Harker had never been in trouble before punching his victim in Hartlepool town centre in April, a court heard.
The 27-year-old had downed lager and double vodkas and could give no reason for the vicious assault, his barrister said.
Harker, of Wynnstay Gardens, Hartlepool, admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm at an earlier court hearing.
Teesside Crown Court was told that he was a hard-working father-of-one who would find a prison sentence hard.
Judge Gillian Matthews, QC, told him: "It is with great sadness I have to say only an immediate sentence is appropriate.
"It is a wholly unprovoked attack on a man in the street, and given there is no context, there is no excuse.
"You punched him to the ground and broke both sides of his jaw, resulting in surgery, and there have been consequences."
The court heard that the victim - a stranger to Harker - lost his job as a cycle tour operator in France after the attack.
He had been chatting with a group of people and having a cigarette in Victoria Road when he was punched.
Jim Withyman, mitigating, said: "He is at a loss to say why, on that day, he decided to punch that blameless man.
"He seems to show genuine remorse for what he had done and feels terrible about it. He simply had no explanation."