A man who repeatedly stabbed a fellow wedding guest in the head with a fork as violence erupted during an evening buffet at a luxury Lakes hotel has been jailed.
Edward Leighton, 61, was holding the utensil while waiting in a queue for food in a suite at Armathwaite Hall, near Keswick, on November 17 2018.
Leighton was at the evening do with his wife and two daughters, while Alan Hodgson was also present having been at the ceremony earlier in the day with his partner and two young children, one of whom was a pageboy.
During an ongoing altercation, Mr Hodgson sought to intervene after seeing his partner grabbed, punched and thrown around.
Mr Hodgson tried to remove Leighton’s wife from the incident, prompting her husband to leave the buffet queue and storm over. Two hotel guests passing the suite witnessed what happened next.
“Having approached Mr Hodgson, they saw the defendant (Leighton) put him into a head lock,” David Bentley, prosecuting, told Carlisle Crown Court.
“They describe seeing him stabbing, multiple times, Mr Hodgson to the head with what they could see was a fork in his possession.”
Mr Hodgson had blood “squirting” from his head having suffered injuries to his left temple, left ear and scalp region. “He had never seen so much blood,” Mr Bentley added of the victim. “He thought he was going to die.”
After the attack, Mr Hodgson was treated in hospital and underwent surgery. He suffered five stab wounds which required stitches, was left partially deaf and suffering from anxiety and depression, and had to sell his successful stage preparation and special effects company.
Mr Hodgson said the incident had “completely changed my life”, adding: “I am in constant pain which has been the case for over two years.”
Leighton admitted unlawful wounding, conceding his actions were “unlawful and disproportionate”, and committed in the “mistaken but, at the time, genuinely held belief he had unlawfully assaulted my wife, and believing I was protecting my wife from him”.
Recorder Neville Biddle jailed Leighton, of Mardale Road, Carlisle, for 10 months, and ordered him to pay the victim £4,000 compensation.
“You used a fork as a weapon. A fork can be a very effective weapon,” said Recorder Biddle, “as it was in this case, and you caused extremely nasty injuries to Mr Hodgson – injuries from which he has been suffering ever since.”