Matlock party-goer jailed after ashtray attack

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A party-goer has been jailed for six months after smashing a glass ashtray over a man’s head, a court heard.

John Spencer, 25, launched the attack after getting involved in a dispute at a party on May 18.

Trouble flared when a woman at the party – held in a Matlock block of flats – accused a man and his girlfriend of stealing her purse, said Laura Pitman, prosecuting at Derby Crown Court.

The accused man put his hands on his head to protect himself and was punched “at least three of four times” by other party-goers.

At that point, Spencer got involved as the victim kept his hands on his head.

Miss Pitman said Spencer picked up a glass ash tray from a bed beside him and struck the man.

“He recalls the defendant hitting him on the head and felt the shattering of glass.

“Glass pieces were flying all over the place. He had small cuts on his hands, obviously caused by the ash tray,” said Miss Pitman.

Spencer, of Dale Road, Matlock was arrested the next day and admitted assault causing actual bodily harm.

When detained, he had a two-litre bottle of White Lightning cider and was “agitated with officers asking him to calm down.”

The court heard that Spencer was put on probation in 2011 for assault. Later that year, he got a suspended jail sentence for a similar offence.

This year he was fined for battery and recorder Adrienne Lucking told him: “You have had every chance and to prison you must go.

“There is an alarming pattern developing of using a weapon to hit people over the head.

“If you come back here next time, having done something similar, sentences will get longer very quickly. Do you understand?” He replied: “I do, yes.”

James Riley, mitigating, said Spencer had shown remorse and offered to pay for a taxi so the man could get medical treatment promptly.

Spencer accepted he had an alcohol problem but did not offer that as an excuse.

A probation report indicated “his offending is almost exclusively when in drink.” While in custody awaiting sentence, he had been able to reflect on his life.

He now has a stable address and was keen to combat the drink problem. Mr Riley added:”The report says this is someone who has extremely high levels of motivation.”