A MARTON thug has avoided an immediate prison sentence after he and his friend attacked a Good Samaritan in front of his seven-year-old stepson and left him with injuries that will affect him for the rest of his life.

Ben Starkey, 31, of Dalefords Lane, Marton, and Timothy Kirkham, 37 of Long Lane, Alpraham, were part of a group of men out drinking at the Rising Sun on Saturday 2 November 2019.

Following an unrelated incident the men were asked to leave the pub by the assistant manager.

The group refused to leave so the pubs landlord was called to help eject them.

On entering the room the landlord politely asked the group to leave. As he did so, he was approached by Starkey who grabbed him around the collar and a scuffle broke out between the pair.

Upon seeing the disturbance, a 46-year-old local man walked over to see what was going on and attempted to help the landlord.

As he intervened the man was repeatedly punched in the face by both Kirkham and Starkey. He was hit with such force that he was knocked unconscious and fell to the floor.

The fall caused the man to sustain a broken leg and dislocated ankle.

Starkey and Kirkham were both subsequently arrested and charged with section 20 assault.

The pair pleaded guilty to the charge and appeared at Chester Crown Court yesterday, Wednesday, June 3, for sentencing.

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Starkey was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for 18 months. He was also ordered to pay £10,000 compensation to the victim, complete 100 hours unpaid work and pay £200 costs.

Kirkham was handed an 18 month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months. He was also ordered to pay £2,000 compensation to the victim, undertake 15 days rehabilitation, complete 150 hours unpaid work and pay £200 costs.

Following the sentencing Sergeant Paul Cundy, from Northwich Response Team, said: “The victim in this case was an innocent member of the public who was simply trying to be a Good Samaritan.

“However, rather than leaving the pub as they had been asked to do, Kirkham and Starkey instead decided to start an altercation.

“As a result of their actions the victim sustained serious injuries, which have already had a profound impact and will affect him for the rest of his life.

“What made this attack even worse was that it was witnessed by the victim’s partner and seven-year-old stepson, who both had to watch as he lay unconscious on the floor.

“Thankfully Kirkham and Starkey have now been brought to justice and are facing the consequences of their actions.

“I hope that their sentencing will provide some closure to the victim and his family and allow them to move forward with their lives.”