Row over spilt beer left attack victim with broken ankle

114183-569_COURT_MERRETT_LITTLER_SR_25/11/11'Erik Merrett (20) outside Portsmouth Crown Court.''Picture:114183-569
114183-569_COURT_MERRETT_LITTLER_SR_25/11/11'Erik Merrett (20) outside Portsmouth Crown Court.''Picture:114183-569
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A ROW over a spilt drink ended in a mass brawl that left a man with a broken ankle.

Daniel Ripley, 20, was enjoying a night out at the Lifeboat Inn, Hayling Island, when one of his friends accidentally knocked his beer over.

114183-585_COURT_MERRETT_LITTLER_SR_25/11/11'Lewis Littler (21) outside Portsmouth Crown Court.''Picture:114183-585

114183-585_COURT_MERRETT_LITTLER_SR_25/11/11'Lewis Littler (21) outside Portsmouth Crown Court.''Picture:114183-585

While the friends were laughing about the spilt lager another group of men, including Erik Merrett and Lewis Littler, became annoyed and launched a violent attack on them.

The brawl, involving a number of people, spilled out on to the road and police arrived to find Mr Ripley on the ground with Merrett, 20, and Littler, 21, punching and kicking him.

The pair were arrested and denied having anything to do with the assault.

But Merrett, of Harold Road, and Littler, of Old School Drive, both in Hayling Island, were both found guilty of assault causing grievous bodily harm after a trial at Portsmouth Crown Court.

Littler also pleaded guilty to obstructing a police officer.

Sentencing them, Recorder Anne Arnold said: ‘It was a sustained assault. The victim, once on the ground, was subject to an attack, including an attack by kicking.

‘There is no doubt it is aggravated by virtue of the fact that both of you had been drinking on the night in question.

‘So far as the injury sustained it will have a lasting impact on the complainant, given that he had to have metal plate inserted.’

William Mousley, defending Merrett, said he had also been hurt in the fight, suffering two black eyes and a bloodied nose. He added: ‘He is, in all other respects, a responsible young man, as well as being a hard worker. The behaviour that he is convicted of is very much out of character.

‘He is not someone who will be appearing in court with any regularity in the future.’

Littler’s barrister Luke Ponte said the attack, in March 2010, was an isolated incident.

‘He is a young man who contributes to society,’ he said.

‘He is from a stable home and he has been in employment since leaving school five years ago.’

Both men were given 12-month prison sentences suspended for two years.

They were ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work each and pay £1,000 in compensation to Mr Ripley and £1,500 in court costs each.