A man having a wee in a Merseyside pub was suddenly struck from behind by his wife’s former partner.
Tensions between the two men had calmed down after Alan Fletcher’s wife began seeing his friend Paul Travers some years earlier, but they flared up that night.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that the two men had known each other for years before Fletcher’s marriage broke down and they divorced seven years ago.
On August 21 2021, Mr Travers went to the Liverpool match at Anfield, followed by the Red Cat pub in Greasby, where he met friends. By chance Fletcher came in with his son and Mr Travers’ ex-wife and her partner.
According to prosecutor, Zarah Baqri, at one stage in the evening Fletcher, a self-employed insulation engineer, was staring at Mr Travers and later aggressively approached him and asked what he had been saying to his son but was persuaded by his friends to go back to his table.
At around 10pm, Mr Travers was using the urinals and felt a very hard thud to the back of his head. He was not sure if Fletcher used his fist or something else.
Miss Baqri said: “He recalls being punched a number of times and he fell to the floor. The defendant also fell to the floor at some stage. While on the floor the complainant was kicked to the head.”
She added that 58-year-old Fletcher had admitted assault by beating on the basis he kicked him but did not purposefully aim for his head.
Fletcher was arrested and when interviewed he said there had been an exchange of words and while in the toilets things escalated and he accepted punching and kicking the victim.
In an impact statement Mr Travers, whose face was left badly swollen, told how he went to hospital a few days after the incident because of on-going pain in his jaw but fortunately nothing was fractured. He had trouble sleeping and suffered flashbacks but his anxiety has now abated.
Carmel Wilde, defending, said that Fletcher, of Dingwall Drive, Greasby, had expressed remorse and references “show a kinder side to him.”
She explained that he is very close to his son who is autistic and he thought that Mr Travers had said something unpleasant towards his son and he “reacted foolishly.”
Miss Wilde said that he had only learnt his wife was having an affair with Mr Travers when a note was pushed through his letter box. But he contacted Mr Travers and suggested they went for a pint “and sort it out before going on a lads holiday”.
They had ironed matters out but that night he reacted badly triggered by words he believed had been said to his son.
Sentencing Fletcher, Judge Robert Trevor-Jones said, “It beggars belief why you at the age of 58 have finished up in a brawl/assault in the toilets of a public house.”
He said he accepted the trigger was Fletcher’s perception of a comment made to his son, of whom he was very protective.
The judge said that while difficulties between the two men had been settled in the past the ground between them was “shallow” and it would not take much for difficulties to arise which is what happened. He had followed the victim into the toilets and attacked him causing unpleasant injuries.
The judge sentenced him to a community order for two years and ordered him to carry out 20 days of rehabilitation activities and 100 hours unpaid work. He also ordered him to pay £250 compensation and imposed a three year restraining order to stay away from the victim and his home in Willaston.