Man broke friend’s jaw after drinking 20 pints to celebrate new baby

By John Scott | Wolverhampton | Crime | Published:

A celebration of the birth of his fifth child almost cost Karl Noakes his liberty, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.

The incident happened at Rileys in Wolverhampton. Photo: Google

The 32-year-old sank 20 pints of lager with Sambuca shots while playing darts and pool with friends, it was said.

The atmosphere was good natured until one of the group – John Ashley – knocked some money out of the hands of another of the men at the city centre Rileys Snooker Club in Broad Street, Wolverhampton, explained Miss Fiona Cortese, prosecuting.

Noakes was angered by the gesture, which he saw as belittling the amount of cash being offered for the next round of drinks by his pal, it was said.

This led to a dispute between the defendant and Mr Ashley which developed into a scuffle during which then men pushed and pulled each other, the court heard.

Initially Noakes, whose partner had given birth days earlier, held the victim down on a pool table and told him to calm down without success.

The argument continued with Mr Ashley being thrown to the floor where he was punched once in the face by the defendant who ran at him.

Police arrived to arrest Noakes while Mr Ashley was taken to hospital where it was discovered he had a double fracture of the jaw which required surgery during which a steel plate was inserted.

The victim later told police that the incident had completely changed his life, altering him from happy-go-lucky to withdrawn and unable to relax.


Mr Jamie Scott, defending, said Noakes remembered little about the incident but acknowledged he had a drink problem and had voluntarily sought help to deal with it since the attack on December 28 last year.

The lawyer added: “This was an argument and scuffle between two friends which spiralled out of control and ended dreadfully.

"He is responsible but did not intend any of this to happen. The trigger for his behaviour was his alcohol consumption.”

The defendant is also being checked for possible mental health issues, the court was told.

Noakes, from Field Street, Wolverhampton, admitted causing grievous bodily harm and was given an 18-month prison sentence suspended for two years with 100 hours work and a four month night time curfew.

Judge Dean Kershaw told him: “The reason I am not sending you immediately into custody is that this involved a single punch and if you were to be jailed it would punish your partner, who would have to care for five children alone, more than you.”

John Scott

By John Scott
Reporter/News Feature Writer

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