Sheffield victim feared HIV infection after drunken ‘bite’ attack

NEWS from Nottingham Magistrates' Court.
NEWS from Nottingham Magistrates' Court.
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A dad has escaped jail for a vicious attack in which his victim feared he had contracted HIV through an alleged bite.

Paul Coulson, aged 28, of Kent Road, Heeley, carried out a drunken assault on his victim on October 26, 2014, with the man he attacked left with two black eyes, bruised ribs and a serious injury to his nose that was reportedly caused by being bitten.

The court heard Coulson had been told ‘deeply unpleasant things’ about the person he attacked and ‘lost his temper’.

Nicholas Worsley, prosecuting, said: “The victim understood the defendant to be HIV positive, which must have had an impact on him.”

Coulson was found guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm by a jury following a trial in November 2015, but was spared jail at Sheffield Crown Court on Friday because he is the sole carer for his young daughter.

Judge Sarah Wright said the jury had convicted Coulson after being given directions that he caused the nose injury ‘by some means’ rather than specifically by a bite.

Oliver Thorne, for Coulson, said while the injuries caused by the assault had been ‘very unpleasant and no doubt very painful’, the victim had not suffered any long-term disfigurement.

He said another man had carried out a second assault on the victim straight after Coulson, making it difficult to determine precisely which injuries his client had caused.

Mr Thorne said his client had a ‘significant drink problem’ at the time.

He said: “He was really very drunk. What was initially lairy behaviour deteriorated into something very much more serious.”

Judge Sarah Wright told Coulson: “There was a concern at the time you were HIV positive and that caused further anxiety for your victim. This was a deeply unpleasant violent incident with serious consequences.”

But she said Coulson’s role as the sole carer for his daughter meant she would suspend the sentence. Coulson got 20 months in prison, suspended for two years. He will have a curfew for nine months and will pay £1,270 in compensation to his victim.