Ex-boxer appears in Sheffield court and dodges jail after knocking man unconscious with headbutt
A former boxer who knocked out a scrap yard dealer with a headbutt has been spared jail.
Gwyn Wale, aged 37, of Knollbeck Avenue, Brampton Bierlow, Rotherham, headbutted Paul Johnson of No 1 Auto Salvage, on Lowfield Road, Bolton-upon-Dearne, so hard that he was knocked unconscious, according to a Sheffield Crown Court hearing.
Katherine White, prosecuting, told the hearing on September 27 that the former boxer visited the scrap yard to collect a tow bar for his caravan and violence flared when he became upset because the item was not available.
Ms White added: “Mr Johnson could not remember anything that occurred. His next memory was waking up in the A&E at the Northern General Hospital.”
A witness stated that he had heard someone complaining about waiting three weeks for parts before he heard a thud that sounded like a headbutt and then he saw Mr Johnson fall to the ground.
Ms White said Mr Johnson had to be placed in the recovery position and another witness said he saw a lot of blood on Mr Johnson’s face around his mouth and nose and he was unconscious for about 10 minutes.
The court heard that a witness identified the defendant’s vehicle and registration and when police tracked down Wale he had a red mark to his forehead.
Former light-welterweight boxer Wale, who has two previous convictions for five offences, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm after the incident on July 23, last year.
Anna Bond, defending, said Wale and Mr Johnson have known each other for some years and the defendant felt he had done favours for Mr Johnson but this was not being reciprocated.
She added that Wale had been working away and he thought that if he got a caravan it would help him save money which is why he needed the toll bar and he felt he was being messed around.
Ms Bond added: “This was an impulsive and spontaneous and short-lived assault that lasted seconds and it is not something that was planned or pre-meditated.”
She added: “This was a split second of very poor judgement and probably the biggest mistake of his life and entirely out of character for him.”
Recorder Mark Cooper told Wale: “This must have been a frightening experience for Paul Johnson who was subjected to what can only be described as a vicious assault in broad daylight.”
He added: “You used your head as a weapon but at the same time it was an impulsive and short-lived assault.”
He sentenced Wale to 12 months of custody suspended for two years with 200 hours of unpaid work. Wale must also pay £425 legal costs.
According to another court hearing in 2012, Wale narrowly escaped death when he was aged 27 after he was stabbed with a screwdriver in his chest and back during a confrontation with another man.
At m the time, the boxer said: “Without my boxing training I might not have survived this. I was in training and was fortunately fit and strong.”