Man punched a passer-by after watching Saints derby defeat

Saints v Wigan

Saints v Wigan

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A DRUNKEN rugby fan who punched a woman in the face after Saints’ humbling 32-10 loss to arch-rivals Wigan has been jailed.

Stephen Horabin, 34, launched an astonishing unprovoked assault on a woman he had never met as he drunkenly stumbled home from the pub following the June 17 derby clash.

St Helens Magistrates’ Court heard how the assault victim, Miss Aspinall, was walking home after finishing her shift at a betting shop when the flashpoint occurred.

Shortly before 10pm, as she turned a corner on Cambridge Road, Newtown, Horabin approached her on the pavement on the same side of the road.

As he approached, CCTV footage showed the defendant stretching out his arms – but gave no indication of what was about to happen.

As the two came closer together Horabin twice blocked Miss Aspinall’s path before, without warning, punching her to the right side of her face.

The victim’s co-worker, who witnessed the assault from a nearby takeaway, then confronted the defendant but Horabin shouted “I’ll flatten you as well” before trying to walk off.

As he did, Miss Aspinall’s co-worker took hold of Horabin in order to detain him while waiting for the police.

In interview, Horabin denied the assault but admitted that his memory was hazy because he had downed five pints while watching the rugby in a nearby pub.

When he was shown CCTV footage of the incident, he made no comment. The court also heard that Horabin, of Sidney Street, Newtown, had been handed a suspended prison sentence last year for an assault on a 13-year-old boy and had a string of violent offences on his record.

David Achilles, defending Horabin, said his client had described the assault as “a slap” and argued that the incident was over in a split second.

He conceded that it was “a serious incident”, but argued that it was a single blow, that his client had subsequently shown remorse and that Horabin deserved credit for his early guilty plea.

Jailing Horabin for nine weeks, JPs said the defendant could “pose a threat to the public”.