A ‘silly boy’ left a Kettering man with a fractured eye orbit after throwing a single punch.
Miles Houghton, 18, of Pioneer Avenue, Burton Latimer, attacked Chris Ellis after a night out in Kettering on April 2 last year.
He was later found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm without intent and avoided jail at Northampton Crown Court on Friday (March 9).
Prosecuting, Jonathan Dunne said: “He [Houghton] had had something to drink and he was acting like a silly boy.
“He was trying to push his way into the queue [in Subway].
“Words were exchanged and Mr Ellis left with his food.
“On his way out he called Houghton a derogatory word.
“Houghton followed him out of the shop and punched him once, causing him to fall to the ground.”
Houghton, 17 at the time of the incident, ran away but was later apprehended by police.
He said to officers: “I did not mean to hurt him.”
Mr Ellis, described as an affable and likeable character, suffered a fractured orbit of the eye and had to spend time in hospital.
He also suffered from septicaemia after picking up a surgical infection.
Houghton claimed he was acting in self-defence after Mr Ellis gave his food to someone else to hold, thinking he was about to be punched himself.
But his version of events was rejected by magistrates after a trial.
Mitigating, Edward Barr said the attack was completely out of character.
He said: “He thought he needed to protect himself and struck him with a single punch.
“It is something which is likely never to be repeated.”
He added that Houghton, who had been subdued and quiet since his arrest, would be unable to pursue his dreams of joining the Royal Marines at 23 because of his conviction.
Her Honour Judge Lucking QC jailed Houghton for 12 months, suspended for two years.
Passing sentence, she warned Houghton of the dangers of drunken fights.
She said: “Every year these courts deal with cases where people are hit with a single punch and die.
“In this case the complainant suffered a serious and very distressing injury.
“The pictures of the injuries are not pretty.
“I am sure that having seen them you are not proud of them.”
Houghton was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £250 in costs.