A personal trainer who wounded a pub landlord with what is believed to have been a piece of broken glass has been jailed for over three years.
Gareth Stannard, 30, struck Nick Thomason, the then landlord at the Cross Keys in Dunnington, with a blow that caused blood to ooze from a gaping wound to his forehead, York Crown Court heard.
He attacked Mr Thomason in the car park after the pub closed early due to the then Covid restrictions, said prosecutor Elizabeth Muir.
An ambulance took Mr Thomason to hospital where he had sutures applied to a 6cm gash to his forehead which left a permanent scar.
Stannard – a powerful man who had been at the pub with friends including two of his personal-fitness clients – handed himself in to police the following day and was charged with wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent but denied the offence.
After a trial in March a jury found him guilty of an alternative charge of unlawful wounding but not guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent. His sentence was adjourned till Tuesday (April 19) for psychiatric reports to be prepared.
Ms Muir said that prior to the attack on November 4, 2020, Mr Thomason – who had since relocated to New Zealand – had been at a funeral wake overseas.
When he returned to the pub, Stannard, who was with eight of his friends including two women who used his services as a personal trainer, was already drunk and acting aggressively.
“The defendant started arguing with others in his group and squaring up to others in his party,” said Ms Muir.
By 10pm, staff, including Mr Thomason’s wife, were asking customers to leave due to Covid regulations, whereupon Stannard started “puffing out his chest” and acting aggressively.
When Mr Thomason asked him to leave, Stannard started “picking a fight” with other punters, staring at them “aggressively” at their tables.
Stannard, who was “extremely drunk”, eventually agreed to leave but as he walked out of the back door, he deliberately bumped into others and ran at another punter, before punching him to the ground.
As he stood astride the named man, Mr Thomason grabbed Stannard and pulled him away.
As Mr Thomason crouched down to check on the stricken man, Stannard ran at him, said Ms Muir.
“(Stannard) hit him in the face and ran to a car he’d been bundled into by others,” she added.
“Mr Thomason immediately felt blood pouring from a wound on his forehead.”
Stannard, of Risewood, Gate Helmsley, had 13 previous convictions for 20 offences including two arsons and being reckless as to whether life would be endangered.
After being convicted for an arson attack in Scarborough, he was released on parole in 2017 but was then recalled to prison for six months in 2019 due to his heavy drinking.
He was released back into the community in December 2019 and started working as a personal trainer and at a local fish-and-chip shop.
Celebrating his birthday
To celebrate his first birthday since his release from prison, he booked two tables at the Cross Keys in November 2020.
Ms Muir said that according to the doctor who assessed Mr Thomason’s injuries, the victim must have been struck by “something sharp” such as a piece of broken glass, though none of the witnesses saw what kind of item it was.
Neil Cutte, mitigating, said that according to witnesses, Mr Thomason “looked like he had been glassed” and conceded that Stannard must have used a “dangerous weapon”.
He said that Stannard, who suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, was still on prison recall and would remain in jail for the original arson offence until the Parole Board deemed him fit to be released, regardless of his sentence for the attack on Mr Thomason.
Judge Simon Hickey said although character references showed that Stannard was “capable of change” and appeared to be turning a corner, he had proven himself to be a “very volatile and dangerous person” and his attack on the pub landlord was so serious that only a lengthy prison sentence could be justified.
He told Stannard: “Drink is obviously your downfall. You are a big, powerful man and (you have) an extremely powerful physique.”
Stannard was jailed for three years and three months, of which he will serve half behind bars before being released on prison licence.