Airman convicted of seriously assaulting man, 72, with one punch
- Credit: ARCHANT
An RAF serviceman has been convicted of seriously assaulting a man he knocked unconscious with a single punch.
A jury found James Sinclair guilty of causing Thomas Cleary grievous bodily harm at Ipswich Crown Court on Wednesday.
Sinclair was unanimously convicted of attacking the 72-year-old, but cleared of another charge of assault on Mr Cleary's son, Patrick.
During the trial, a neurologist referred to Thomas Cleary suffering a lasting disability as a result of the attack.
Judge Emma Peters ordered a report to be prepared by the probation service, and requested an update on Mr Cleary's condition, before passing sentence in the new year.
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The court had previously heard how the father and son had been drinking in Bury St Edmunds on the night of November 23, 2018.
Giving evidence during the first day of the trial, Patrick Cleary said they had visited the Kings Arms pub before venturing to The Grapes pub, and finishing the night at The Gym bar, in Risbygate Street.
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Mr Cleary said he and his father had consumed six pints of lager each over the course of the night and then went to get some chips.
They walked through the St Andrew's Street car park towards Tayfen Road and were met at the bottom of the steps by Sinclair, 24, who asked them for a lighter.
When Thomas Cleary replied that he did not smoke, Sinclair swore at the men, the court heard.
Patrick Cleary said he responded by swearing back, before crossing the road, where he claimed to have been twice hit by Sinclair, based at RAF Honington.
After flagging down a taxi and asking the driver to call the police, Patrick Cleary told the jury he then saw Sinclair, of 27 Squadron, cross back over the road to where his father was still standing.
"He stood there looking at my father, then punched him straight in the face," Mr Cleary said.
"It was like he was punching one of those boxing balls you see at the funfair."
Mr Cleary described his father as being "absolutely out of it".
Thomas Clearly was taken to West Suffolk Hospital before being transferred to Addenbrooke's Hospital after a scan found serious bleeding on the brain and a fractured skull.
Sinclair, who claimed he acted in self-defence, is due to be sentenced in the week beginning January 27.