Portsmouth attack ‘snapped over sexual assault’

Portsmouth Crown Court

Portsmouth Crown Court

Roxanne Vines

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A MAN who attacked a gay man over unwanted sexual advances has avoided prison.

Damian McGovern was given a suspended sentence by a judge for the assault in Portsmouth on Jason Garrard.

The 43-year-old had seen Mr Garrard when the pair were separately speaking to their letting agent in Waverley Road, Southsea.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard Mr Garrard told police he was having ‘banter’ with McGovern asking to see in his boxer shorts, while the defendant’s barrister, Daniel Reilly, said McGovern was ‘sexually assaulted’.

The court heard the victim tried to follow McGovern to the toilet.

Matthew Lawson, prosecuting, said a witness saw him grab the victim and take him outside the office.

Another witness, Paul Hartley, heard glass smash at about 3.10pm and then saw the attack. Mr Lawson said: ‘He saw Mr Garrard lying on the floor with the defendant leaning down on the left side of Mr Garrard raining punches on Mr Garrard.

‘He said the punches connected with Mr Garrard’s head and body several times.’

The court heard he was unconscious, according to Mr Hartley who split the men up.

But the defendant attacked again, kicking him.

‘Mr McGovern continued the assault punching Mr Garrard several times with both fists causing him to fall to the floor,’ Mr Lawson said.

‘He said while he was on the ground for a second time, Mr McGovern the proceeded to kick him in the head and stamp on his head several times while Mr Hartley tried to pull him away.’

Police were called and the victim, who suffered a fractured eye orbital socket, was taken to hospital.

Judge Claudia Ackner handed McGovern an 18-month prison term suspended for two years with three-month curfew. The attack took place on November 23 last year and McGovern admitted GBH.

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