Thug battered innocent bypasser with stick after New Year house party brawl spilled into Horwich street
A THUG who attacked an innocent bypasser during a New Year brawl has been given a community sentence.
John Oldham, aged 29, of Woking Terrace, Halliwell, was appearing for sentence at Bolton Crown Court yesterday after earlier pleading guilty to common assault.
He had faced two charges of assault causing actual bodily harm and possession, but pleaded guilty instead to a third charge of common assault.
Oldham, a roofer, attacked Paul Cunningham, who was walking by with his family in the early hours of New Year's Day, 2012.
He said he had been punched during a drunken fight and suffered a cut under the eye.
David Porjun, prosecuting, said the incident spilled out into the street outside.
He told the court: “At the time of the incident Mr Cunnigham was an innocent bypasser who had been walking past the house with his wife and son.
"Mr Cunnigham had told his family not to engage with the men outside. However, for some reason Oldham thought Mr Cunningham was his attacker and hit him with a stick.”
Mr Cunningham was hit in the back of the head with a spade by another attacker — who has never been brought justice.
Sentencing Oldham, Judge Timothy Stead said: “In my judgement the defendant honestly believed he was hitting somebody who he thought had hit him.
“A weapon was used and although the defendant believed he was setting about a wrongdoer he was attacking a passerby and he had a role in felling this person.”
Oldham was given a 12-month community order and ordered to undertake 100 hours unpaid work.