Kidderminster man receives suspended sentence after hitting former colleague on head with bottle

A Kidderminster man who hit a former work colleague over the head with a bottle in a night club, causing a wound which needed ten stitches, has been given a suspended sentence.

Matthew Wood
Matthew Wood

Ex-Jaguar Land Rover worker Matthew Wood was ordered to pay his victim £1,000 in compensation by a judge at Warwick Crown Court after he had pleaded guilty to a charge of assault.

Wood, 31, of Parry Road, Kidderminster, was also sentenced to 14 months in jail suspended for two years and ordered to take part in a rehabilitation activity.

Prosecutor Ian Windridge said Wood had originally faced a charge of wounding, but on the day of his trial a guilty plea to the less serious offence was accepted.

Mr Windridge said the incident dated back to August 2017 when Carl Long was at a night club at the Skydome in Coventry with his wife and friends.

He said: “At shortly before 1am Mr Long went to get a drink and then went to the toilet area where he was approached by Mr Wood.

“They knew each other because they had been work colleagues at the Jaguar Land Rover Solihull plant where there had been an incident in 2016 when Mr Long had received injuries and Mr Wood had resigned his position.”

The court heard of the incident in the night club, Mr Windridge said Mr Long was in the toilet area when Wood approached him, putting his arm round his neck. Mr Long turned and saw Wood and another man, and managed to leave the toilet area.

But he was followed by Wood who then hit him over the head with a bottle before being grabbed by bouncers and escorted from the club.

Bleeding

Mr Long could feel his head bleeding and also left the club before going to hospital where he needed ten stitches in a 6cm wound to the top of his head.

Four months later, Wood went to Coventry police station for a voluntary interview and accepted following Mr Long to the toilet area.

He said there had been a confrontation between them there, but denied being the person who had then hit him with the bottle, said Mr Windridge, who added that Wood had a conviction in 2010 for a racially-aggravated public order offence.

Judge Barry Berlin observed that it was not until 16 months after the attack that Wood was even charged.

Graeme Simpson, defending, said: “There is a pre-sentence report and three character references which all speak very highly of him.

“The thrust of my mitigation is that, given the age of this and the personal mitigation in general, the proper way of dealing with this man is by a non-custodial sentence.

“This is well over two years old, and it did take over a year to charge him.”

Mr Simpson said Wood now worked for another car company, based in Warwickshire, where he tests new cars before they are delivered to their new owners, and could pay compensation.

Sentencing Wood, Judge Berlin told him: “On your trial day you decided to plead guilty to a section 47 [assault] matter. Your defence was nonsense, that it was not you who struck him over the head with a bottle. It was you.

“You had assaulted him previously and you were dismissed in January 2017 for that. Then on the 6th of August 2017 you assaulted Carl Long causing him actual bodily harm.

“You picked up a glass bottle and struck him, causing a serious wound, a two-inch gash to the top of his head.

“There is a degree of premeditation here because you had some grudge against him.

“I have had a difficult time with this case. It is a close one, but I am prepared to suspend the prison sentence. Think yourself lucky, you have escaped an immediate custodial sentence by the skin of your teeth.”

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