A court has heard how a self-proclaimed ‘hardest man in Stockton’ launched an unprovoked, cowardly and vicious attack on an off-duty police officer during a night out.
Jason Turnbull – who has a string of convictions for various offences – was on licence after being sentenced to ten years in prison in 2014 when he approached an off-duty police officer in Traders, Blue Post Yard, Stockton on 11th December 2021.
CCTV retrieved from the scene showed 40-year-old Turnbull talking to the police officer before adopting a “boxers stance” and throwing eight to nine punches to his face.
The officer fell to the ground, and Turnbull then attacked his friend.
Teeside Crown Court heard that witnesses chased after Turnbull, who tried to run away after launching the unprovoked attack.
During the trial, the off-duty officer told the court that Turnbull told him: “I’m the hardest man in Stockton” before turning away to dance.
But Turnbull came back seconds later and launched the cowardly attack.
The off-duty officer suffered a fracture to his eye socket as well as to his jaw.
He has since undergone surgery to have plates fitted in his face, but the area around his mouth remains numb.
In a victim impact statement, the officer also said he feels constant pressure inside his mouth and eye socket.
In a statement, the officer said that he had built a career helping people and that he had had to take time off work with his injuries: “I’ve never been assaulted with malice and aggression for no reason. I have flashbacks and wake up in the night wondering why it happened.”
Prosecutor Jenny Hague said that police could identify Turnbull from the club’s CCTV footage, but he refused to answer questions about the incident after he was arrested.
Turnbull, of Ickworth Court in Ingleby Barwick, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
He has ten convictions for 21 offences, including an assault in 2006, where he headbutted a man who tackled him in a football match on Acklam Road.
Turnbull was sentenced to over ten years in prison for drug offences in 2014 and was under licence after being released when he committed his latest act of violence.
Judge Paul Watson told Turnbull:
“The off-duty officer was out enjoying himself and having a good time with friends when he had the misfortune of meeting you.
“We will perhaps never know what words were exchanged between you both.
“But you were belligerent and aggressive in your manner towards him.
“Without any provocation, you punched him. These were punches delivered by a powerfully-built man, taking the officer by surprise. He was left with a fractured jaw and eye socket and his numbness may be permanent. However, you eventually pleaded guilty and I accept your remorse as genuine.”
The judge sentenced Turnbull to four years and three months in prison.
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