A WEST Cumbrian man suffered an appalling facial injury after he was knocked to the ground in a Whitehaven bar by a ‘powerfully built’ semi-professional rugby player, a court heard.

Gordon Maudling, 29, feeling annoyed because he felt he was goaded by his victim earlier in the evening, punched Christopher Whitelock twice in the face, causing him to fall and hit his head against a table. He suffered what the judge in the case said was a ‘significant injury'.

Maudling admitted an assault causing actual bodily harm and possessing cocaine. Judge Nicholas Barker said the defendant was guilty of “extreme violence".

It happened at Whitehaven’s Generations Bar in New Street on January 19, Carlisle Crown Court was told.

Though the two men had encountered each other earlier in the evening, Mr Whitelock had gone into the bar for just one pint as he waited for his takeaway meal to be ready.

It was at this point that Maudling walked up to his victim and delivered two punches, the court was told. Mr Whitelock immediately fell to ground, hitting his head on a table.

Maudling’s defence barrister Kim Whittlestone said the victim had ‘goaded’ the defendant. She provided references for Maudling, including one from a coach at Workington Town RLFC.

The barrister told the judge: “It’s clear from the pre-sentence report that this defendant has two issues. One is with alcohol; he appears to drink to excess, but not regularly.

“Also, when in drink, he reacts.” She conceded this did not excuse Maudling’s behaviour.

She said the defendant was remorseful.

After the violence, the defendant was suspended from his construction job at Sellafield but since then he had worked with his uncle, said the barrister.

Imposing a nine month jail sentence on Maudling, of Dalegarth Avenue, Whitehaven, the judge said it was apparent that he had a problem with alcohol and that he could be described as a “binge drinker".

Referring to the attack on Mr Whitelock, the judge said: “You struck him twice in the face. You are a powerfully built man and it’s said your blows were extremely hard. There was a significant amount of blood and you simply walked away.”

The judge noted how Mr Whitelock had needed surgery to straighten and repair his nose, and the scarring he suffered had left him feeling self-conscious.

Also, witnessing such violence must also have been traumatising for those people who were in that busy bar on that evening, said the judge.

Judge Barker was told that Maudling was given a suspended 16-month prison sentence in 2014 for earlier violence which was also classed as being ‘significant'.

The judge told the defendant: “You have not learned your lesson and not moderated your behaviour in terms of alcohol and in terms of your violence.”

He said only an immediate prison sentence was appropriate.

Even if there had been goading, said the judge, that would not be classed as provocation, and it could not excuse his violent behaviour that night. Judge Barker also imposed a three year restraining order, banning Maudling from making any contact with his victim.