A MOMENTARY “bad decision” when a man feared he was about to be attacked cost him his previous good name and a £3,400 court bill.

Community physiotherapist Dean Spencer is also at risk of losing his health service job because of the single head-butt delivered to an aspiring male model, on the crowded smoking balcony of a Durham night spot.

Durham Crown Court heard the incident arose after he opened a door to go out on to the balcony, looking for a friend, at Fabio’s, in Saddler Street, in the early hours of December 17, 2016.

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A man in front of the door slightly stumbled forward and another member of his group stepped forward to remonstrate with Spencer.

The court was told that fearing he was about to be attacked, Spencer delivered a “pre-emptive strike”, the head-butt, which caused a cut to victim’s lip.

A brief scuffle followed before peacemakers intervened and the injured man went to hospital where he received internal and external stitches to the lip.

He also suffered a chipped tooth which cost him £150 to have capped.

Reading from his impact statement, Penny Bottomley, prosecuting, told the court the victim was due to go on a photo-shoot the following day which he had to cancel at short notice, and because of the residual scarring, has not done any modelling work since the attack.

Spencer, 28, of Bryony Walk, Shotton Colliery, denied assault causing actual bodily harm, claiming he merely acted in self-defence, fearing attack.

But, he was convicted on a unanimous jury verdict following a two-day trial.

Chris Baker, mitigating, told the court Spencer was of previous good character and the last thing he expected that night was to be involved in any such confrontation.

“On any take of the events, when he went through that door that night I don’t think he expected to behave like he did.

“Mr Spencer did perceive he was under threat and was acting in self-defence, but that was ‘over the top’ in the circumstances.”

Recorder Ian Atherton agreed, saying: “That was my reading of it. I think it was excessive use of force.”

Mr Baker said the defendant fears the conviction may cost him his job, and with it his house.

Passing sentence, Recorder Atherton said: “Quite clearly, the defendant head-butted the victim in what he thought was self-defence, but the jury found, and I accept that finding, it was excessive self-defence.

“In the blink of an eye a bad decision was made.”

Taking the, “unusual step” of passing a one-day conditional discharge, which he hoped would enable the defendant to retain his job, Recorder Atherton ordered him to pay £1,000 compensation to the victim and £2,400 court costs.