A publisher has been ordered to carry out unpaid work after headbutting a man who criticised his newspaper.
The Press’ publisher and columnist Danny Lockwood was handed a community order today (Tuesday) at Kirklees Magistrates’ Court after being found guilty of assault last month.
Lockwood headbutted and repeatedly hit Liam Ellis outside the Fox and Hounds after an argument in the Hanging Heaton pub in April 2012.
Mr Ellis needed five stitches under his left eye and was left with bruising on his right arm.
Sentencing Lockwood, magistrate Keith Wilson called it a “very serious assault”. He ordered the 55-year-old, of Main Street, Elvington, York, to carry out 150 hours unpaid work for the community.
Lockwood will also have to wear an electronic tag to enforce a 7pm-7am curfew on Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays. The curfew lasts for eight weeks.
Lockwood, who was representing himself, had been invited by magistrates to make any comments in mitigation, but he declined. “Obviously I don’t agree with the decision of the court but I have to accept that,” he said.
Lockwood claimed that he was acting in self-defence during his trial in January. He said Mr Ellis had become loud and threatening during their conversation, branding him and The Press “racist”.
He said he left the pub feeling “upset, shaken and shaking”. He said he acted in self-defence as he was “in fear of what [Ellis] was going to do next”.
But his account was rejected by District Judge Baldwin, who said she believed that Mr Ellis was going outside to apologise to Lockwood for the argument.
Lockwood then headbutted Mr Ellis and repeatedly hit his upper body, forcing him back into the lobby of the pub and onto the floor before leaving.
Mr Ellis was taken to Dewsbury and District Hospital where he received five stitches.
Lockwood was ordered to pay £680 in court costs and fees, as well as £250 compensation.