Missing pack of cigarettes leads to savage bottle attack outside Bognor pub

Joshua Stephenson smashed a bottle over a stranger's head. Picture: Sussex Police
Joshua Stephenson smashed a bottle over a stranger's head. Picture: Sussex Police

A scrap over a packet of cigarettes at a Bognor pub ended with a young father smashing a bottle over a stranger’s head, leaving him permanently scarred.

Joshua Stephenson and the victim had been thrown out of the Punch and Judy pub but he returned armed with a bottle and attacked the man outside the pub in March last year.

Stephenson, 23, of Warwick Gardens in Worthing, admitted grievous bodily harm with intent and common assault and was sentenced at Lewes Crown Court this morning.

Prosecutor Janice Brennan said: “Like so many incidents of violence at public houses this one arose out of a fairly insignificant dispute over a missing packet of cigarettes.

“An argument develops with the defendant trying to punch the victim unsuccessfully and ended up being put in a headlock.”

Both Stephenson and the victim were then asked to leave the pub, which they did.

However for reasons unknown Stephen does not let the matter rest.

The court heard that he instead chose to arm himself with a glass bottle, returned to the victim and smashed it over his head.

The victim was left with two cuts to his head that had to be glued back together and have left permanent scarring.

Defence barrister Paul Luttman said: “Mr Stephenson can’t explain why he returned to the victim.

“He’s had a fairly chaotic upbringing.”

He asked that Stephenson be given credit for his guilty plea and the progress he has made in the last year.

Recorder Joshua Swirsky, sentencing Stephenson, said: “This is a serious assault with a weapon on someone that you did not know arising out of a trivial argument about a packet of cigarettes.

“It is fortunate that he did not suffer more serious injuries than he did.”

Stephenson was jailed for four years and nine months.