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Man given suspended sentence for one-punch festive attack on farmer

Robert Dugdale

AN aspiring farrier who knocked out and injured a farmer as festive violence flared outside a South Cumbria pub has been spared immediate custody.

Robert Cannon Dugdale, 20, had sunk 15 pints of cider while victim James Hadwin was also drunk amid separate Christmas celebrations with colleagues which took both men to the Snooty Fox late on December 21 last year.

Carlisle Crown Court heard Mr Hadwin was punched to the side of the head outside the pub and hadn’t seen Dugdale coming, one witness describing the attacker taking a “flying leap” before delivering the single blow.

This floored Mr Hadwin, a farmer and self-employed agricultural consultant, leaving him briefly unconscious. He was treated in hospital for injuries which included facial fractures. “Christmas, he says, was effectively ruined,” prosecutor Brendan Burke told the court. “His children were alarmed by his injured appearance.”

Dugdale, of Bentham Moor Road, Burton in Lonsdale, admitted causing grievous bodily harm. His assertion Mr Hadwin was violent to him before the attack was not accepted by the prosecution. However, Judge David Potter ruled that dispute would make no difference to sentencing.

Dugdale, a man of previous good character, was said in court to be a hard-working groundsman, also training to be a farrier, and a “young man who has many positive qualities”.

After hearing mitigation and of Dugdale’s upset and remorse, Judge David Potter suspended 12 months’ detention for 18 months. He must complete 180 hours’ unpaid work, a rehabilitation requirement and pay Mr Hadwin £1,000 compensation.”

“Fortunately – and it is through fortune rather than your judgement on your part – the injuries sustained by the complainant were not long-lasting,” said the judge.

“But I tell you this: punches like that, outside public houses, often result in life-altering injuries and frequently death.”

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