A MAN trying to calm his partner after being ejected from a town centre pub snapped at a comment made by an onlooker at the scene, a court was told.

David Thomas Laheney, who was attempting to act as a peacemaker, took exception to the remark made about his partner, and threw a single punch at a member of a group standing outside the Mitre, in Bishop Auckland, late on May 26 last year.

Durham Crown Court heard the blow landed to the left-hand side of the victim’s face, knocking his head backwards.

A witness described Laheney dashing towards the unwary teenage target before throwing the punch almost from behind.

Victoria Lamballe, prosecuting, said the woman remonstrated with Laheney, but it appeared to have little effect on him.

The victim was taken to the local hospital and treated for an un-displaced fracture of the lower jaw, but was referred to James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, where it was also confirmed he had suffered a fractured cheek bone.

In subsequent victim statements he said he felt was it was a “completely unprovoked” and unmerited attack, given that the altercation had been between one of his friends and the defendant’s partner.

He said he had moved away and was talking to a friend nearby when the attack took place out of the blue.

The court heard it took several months before police spoke to the defendant, and delays gathering medical evidence also contributed to the lengthy time lapse between the incident and court proceedings taking place.

Laheney, 38, of Westmorland Way, Newton Aycliffe, admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Andrew Finlay, mitigating, told the court: “The assault came after the defendant had been trying to calm his partner who had taken exception to the actions of the door staff and was getting into rows with people. He was attempting to stop violence between his partner and others.

“He seems to recall the injured party said something to which he reacted badly.

“When he was interviewed, he said: ‘There’s no excuses, I put my hands up to it. I accept it was me who punched him.’

“Asked why, he said it was a ‘rush of blood’ after a few minutes trying to restrain his partner,” added Mr Finlay.

Judge Jonathan Carroll said it appears that the defendant’s now ex-partner was, “spoiling for trouble”, but he suffered a momentary loss of self-control and landed the single blow.

Imposing a ten-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, he ordered Laheney to perform 200 hours’ unpaid work and undergo 20 days working with the Probation Service to address anger management and his drinking habits.

He must also pay £600 compensation to the victim at the rate of £50 per month.