Off-duty police officer has his jaw broken in Gunwharf Quays attack

THIS WEEK IN 1993: Portsmouth teenager killed in knife fight

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AN OFF-DUTY police officer was left with a broken jaw when he was attacked by a gang in a bar.

Sam Lake was drinking with friends when he got into a row with another group at Bar 38 in Portsmouth’s Gunwharf Quays.

When one of the men told him to leave and threatened him Mr Lake flashed his police badge and told him he would get arrested.

It prompted a violent response from Ricky Nother and his friends who punched and kneed Mr Lake while others kept hold of him so that he could not escape.

Mr Lake was off work and had to have surgery on his broken jaw. He says he has been left nervous when dealing with violent confrontations in his work.

Nother, who was jailed for 18 months at Portsmouth Crown Court, is the only man to have been convicted for the attack.

The 21-year-old, of Cornwall Road, Fratton, Portsmouth, was found guilty of assault causing grievous bodily harm after a trial.

Nicholas Bleaney defending said Nother, who worked for a paving company, was sorry for what happened.

He said: ‘He is a hard-working young man who has got himself into a foolish incident,’ he said.

Sentencing him Recorder James Watson QC said: ‘I accept that the matter arose because of what I will describe as unwise conduct on behalf of the victim.

‘I accept that this was a matter which arose from some kind of facing up between your group and the victim.’

But he added: ‘What he did by way of provocation, whilst it was the background, does not justify what happened next.

‘He was, no doubt, the victim of the attack.

‘I have no doubt that he was held in a manner which meant that he was both defenceless and unable to recoil or in any way avoid blows which were landed on him.

‘The blows were delivered with ferocity.

‘It was sickening and it was cowardly.’

He added: ‘It was an assault which caused serious harm and an extremely unpleasant fracture to the jaw.

‘This is an offence for which only a sentence of immediate custody can be passed.’