Amputee attacked at family gathering

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A military diver lost his temper and headbutted an amputee to the ground after the man taunted him about his rank in the army.

Zachary Lofthouse, 47, left his victim unconscious after the violent attack at a family party in Cross Street Leyland.

Matthew Orrell, 34, also suffered a fractured nose after being kicked in the head by Lofthouse while he was on the floor, unable to get up.

The court heard that Mr Orrell had lost his leg in a motorbike accident. Lofthouse claimed that he had gatecrashed the party and was making a nuisance of himself. He had been asked to leave by Lofthouse’s son, Lee, and Lofthouse had called a taxi, the court heard.

But before the taxi arrived Mr Orrell began taunting Lofthouse, who was trained as a diver in the army, and in what prosecutor Francis McEntee described as the “flashpoint”, Lofthouse launched at Mr Orrell, who lost his balance and fell to the floor.

Lee Lofthouse tried to pull his father away, but he said: “We held my dad back and then let go. Dad went round the back of us and over to Matt and kicked him in the head while he was on the floor.”

Lofthouse’s sons again pulled him back but Mr Orrell had lost consciousness.

Adrian Williams, defending, said Lofthouse was a normally decent family man who had been disinhibited by alcohol and significantly provoked.

He added his client had attempted to diffuse the situation by calling him a taxi.

Lofthouse, of Sussex Place, Buckshaw Village, pleaded guilty to assault causing actual bodily harm (ABH).

Judge Stuart Baker, sentencing, said: “I have not seen Mr Orrell and I have not heard evidence from him, but I do think this is a case in which although Mr Orrell does deserve some sympathy because he is disabled and sustained some injury at your hands, or your foot.

“His conduct was described by others as being provocative and boorish.

“That does not give you carte blanche to assault him and you had no lawful authority to do so.

“That sort of attack is, in my view, undoubtedly deserving of a prison sentence being imposed.

“Apart from anything else, you knew that this man had a disability.”

He handed Lofthouse a 13 month sentence suspended for two years and ordered him to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work.