A wedding reception descended into chaos that ended with a guest suffering a fractured jaw as violence erupted.
Joe Adams was celebrating the bride and groom’s happy day when trouble flared at the Village Hotel, North Tyneside, where friends and family had gathered.
A court heard Mr Adams, who was with his partner, saw a friend heading swiftly to the exit aware something was wrong due to his body language.
Mr Adams followed him and saw his friend being punched as violence erupted with a group including scrap business owner Robbie Sisterton.
He was then punched by Sisterton and possibly others and was left with injuries including a fractured jaw, which required surgery under general anaesthetic to fit plates.
Sisterton, 25, from North Shields, pleaded guilty to inflicting GBH and affray but has been spared prison, reports Newcastle Crown Court.
Vince Ward, prosecuting, referring to Mr Adams’ victim impact statement: “He struggles to understand why someone could do this on what should have been a joyous occasion for him and his fiance’s family.”
Mr Ward added: “He says he has missed out on valuable time with his young daughter.
“For a time he was not been able to open his mouth, even to laugh and he could hardly speak for weeks afterwards.
“If he plays with his daughter he tries to keep his head back to avoid contact.
“He says it’s left him with psychological damage and his confidence has reached rock bottom.
“He has nerve damage and feels as if his lip is drooping and he suffers from anxiety and panic attacks in public or if there are loud, boisterous groups nearby.”
The court heard he had been to the Village Hotel, at the Silverlink, North Tyneside, with family members, on November 30 last year.
Mr Ward said Sisterton was involved, with others, in an affray outside the hotel, which moved inside.
The prosecutor said: “That’s the point at which Mr Adams comes on the scene and he tried to intervene after seeing his friend punched.
“He received a number of punches from this defendant.”
Mr Adams described several blows but prosecutors did not dispute Sisterton’s basis of plea that said he only threw three punches.
The victim was taken to the RVL Hospital in Newcastle RVI and had to have plates inserted in his jaw. He also had facial bruising and had to have two teeth taken out as a result of the attack.
Mr Ward said: “It was at a wedding reception. There was the potential for children to witness it, it was a family wedding.”
Judge Robert Adams sentenced Sisterton to 12 months suspended for 18 months with 150 hours unpaid work and £1,000 compensation.
The judge said: “It was after a wedding in a public place when family members were going to be present on what was meant to be a happy occasion.”
Judge Adams said “there were others involved, this was a joint attack”, said it was out of character and added that Sisterton was capable of rehabilitation.
But he told him: “You caused a significant injury to Mr Adams and he is living with the effects a year later.”
Matthew Purves, defending, said Sisterton was leaving the venue when he and his group were approached by an associate of Mr Adams.
He said: “There was a degree of determination in his approach which may be unsettling.
“Violence very quickly ensues. The violence is relatively brief.”
Mr Purves added: “He has expressed genuine regret and remorse.
“He accepts he did not have to get involved in any violence at all.
“He has no previous involvement with the courts. This seems to have been borne out of impulse.”