A VIOLENT thug bragging about being "the hardest man in Stockton" caused multiple fractures to an off-duty police officer’s face when he attacked him in a bar.

Jason Turnbull launched the unprovoked assault while they were drinking in Traders in Stockton in the run up to last Christmas.

CCTV footage shown at Teesside Crown Court revealed how the 40-year-old confronted his victim before taking up a boxing stance and delivering a number of brutal blows to his head.

Turnbull bragged that he was the "hardest man in Stockton" before punching the man up to ten times causing a fracture to his eye socket, face, and jaw, and had to have metal plates fitted to the injuries.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Jason Turnbull. Picture: CLEVELAND POLICEJason Turnbull. Picture: CLEVELAND POLICE

Jenny Haigh, prosecuting, said there was no evidence that the victim was targeted due to him being a serving police officer but the assaulted had resulted in long-term medical problems.

Violent assault

“The defendant moves towards the man and says something to him; he seems quite agitated; a short time later he again approaches him and words are exchanged.

“It appears the victim is laughing at something the defendant is saying to him,” she said.

“The only thing the complainant can remember the defendant saying is ‘I’m the hardest man in Stockton’. CCTV shows the defendant lash out before he goes into a boxing stance and the victim retreats back.

“The defendant then delivers his first punch and then delivers multiple blows with both hands.”

The victim falls to the floor before Turnbull punches the victim’s friend and being confronted by a woman in the bar.

In a victim impact statement, the officer said he had been forced to take time off work and was still suffering numbness to his face as a result of his injuries.

He said he ‘suffered flashbacks’ and for a time had struggled to leave the house.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Traders bar in Stockton. Picture: GOOGLETraders bar in Stockton. Picture: GOOGLE

The court heard how Turnbull had been recalled on licence following his arrest and has remained in custody since Christmas Eve.

The defendant had been jailed for ten years and five months in May 2014 after he was convicted of being involved in a well-organised network bringing Class A drugs into Teesside.

Turnbull, of Ickworth Court, Ingleby Barwick, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent and affray following the attack on December 11 last year.

Andrew Turton, in mitigation, said it was "appalling behaviour" and has apologised profusely for his actions.

He said: “The defendant, in a letter to the court, is extremely remorseful, remorse is evident, regret is evident. He accepts full responsibility for his actions.”

‘Belligerent and aggressive’

Judge Paul Watson QC, the Recorder of Middlesbrough, branded Turnbull ‘belligerent and aggressive’ when he attacked the off-duty officer.

He said: “Lengthy, aggressive discussion between you and him resulted in you, without any real provocation, punching him with full weight.

“These were punches delivered by a powerfully built man, it plainly took him by surprise, he was knocked back and you continued to beat him.”

Turnbull was jailed for four years and three months.

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