Sunday, 3 Mar 2024

Teen barmaid’s nose ‘explodes’ as drinker, 49, attacks at boat club

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A lorry driver attacked a teenage barmaid outside a powerboat club in an act of violence she says made her nose “explode” and which left her “missing her life before the attack”.

Alan Smith forcefully struck 19-year-old Alyx Bridge  as she lay helplessly on the floor, then launched an unprovoked assault on another victim.

Ms Bridge, a keen rugby player, may now need plastic surgery to fix the facial injury inflicted upon her.

Liverpool Crown Court heard how Ms Bridge had been helping another customer, Paul Barrow, get a taxi when the attack happened.

Mr Barrow had been drinking with a group of people at Lancashire Powerboat Racing Club in St Helens, Merseyside.

He was punched and kicked by Smith moments after his attack on Ms Bridge.

Smith then returned to the bar and changed his clothing. He has no previous convictions, Liverpool Echo reports.

Smith, a married dad of two from St Helens, was handed a 14-month imprisonment suspended for 18 months, having admitted two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Sentencing Smith, Recorder Kate Cornell said of his victim: “She was simply performing her duties in helping another customer to leave and get a taxi. She was entirely innocent of any wrongdoing, yet she was knocked down and struck with significant force.

“She will take a long time to recover. This was an entirely unprovoked and unjustified attack.

“You have taken responsibility for your offending. You accept now that you should never have got involved and are ashamed of your conduct, as you should be.

“Goodness knows what you were thinking. You have demonstrated genuine remorse and shame.

“I can see today you are cowed by this incident, as you should be. It may have been a moment of madness, but the ripple effect of your actions is huge.

“Your actions were clearly impulsive and reckless. It does seem completely out of character.”

Christopher Hopkins, prosecuting, told the court Ms Bridge was attacked when she had tried to help Mr Barrow into a taxi after he felt his fellow drinkers were “bullying him” into buying beverages.

The barmaid had to run back inside the premises to escape any further attack.

She was left with damage to her nasal cartilage as a result of the attack and may require a rhinoplasty to correct the issue. She has not returned to work at the club and has even suffered panic attacks during games since the incident.

A statement read out to the court on her behalf said: “I was a young woman trying to help a customer out. I did not deserve to be treated this way.

“I miss my life before the attack. It has changed in every way.”

Chris Hegarty, defending, said that his client had worked a 12-hour night shift the evening before the incident then went to the club to attend an Easter egg hunt and watch St Helens’ Good Friday clash with Wigan Warriors on the television after two hours of sleep.

He added: “This defendant is ashamed of what he has done.

“He is devastated by what he has done in relation to Ms Bridge. He asserts that he will never trouble these courts again.

“It was just a normal, happy occasion. He was told that Mr Barrow had been acting inappropriately to staff.

“This is clearly wholly out of character for this defendant. He can only attribute such abhorrent behaviour to the amount of alcohol he had consumed which caused him to act impulsively and with recklessness.

“He can’t believe he has done what he did – a mild mannered, non-aggressive male. I don’t think the courts will be seeing this defendant again.”

Aside from his suspended sentence, Smith must also complete 250 hours of unpaid work, an alcohol abstinence requirement of six months and a 12-month curfew from 8pm to 6am on Sunday nights. He was given a restraining order banning him from contact Ms Bridge for three years, and was told to pay her £800 in compensation.

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