Former soldier attacked trying to stop fight on Westgate

John Hanmer.
John Hanmer.

The family of a granddad who was attacked as he tried to break up a fight on Westgate have called for tougher sentences for violent criminals.

John Hanmer, of Portobello, had to undergo an emergency hip replacement after he was repeatedly punched outside Passion Bar last November.

The ex-solider, then aged 64, was forced to miss the city’s remembrance service for the first time since he left the army.

His attacker, James Sykes, 21, was jailed for 12 months at Leeds Crown Court on Monday, March 31.

Mr Hanmer’s daughter, Debbie Pottage, said the sentence did not reflect the level of injuries inflicted on her father.

She said: “His health has suffered significantly since the attack. He will always have to walk with a stick and will always have a limp. Because of his injuries, he is not at active as he used to be.

“Twelve months is not long enough for what he did. In court they said he had a violent background. The judge had to take time off the maximum sentence because he pleaded guilty.”

The court was shown footage of the incident outside Passion Bar, during which Sykes attacked Mr Hanmer, who was trying to calm the situation.

David Mackay, prosecuting, said the incident happened on November 9 last year as the victim was walking past the bar with his daughter and son-in-law.

He said: “As they were walking past there was a disturbance involving a number of people, including street wardens.”

The court heard Sykes, who had been out drinking, suddenly grabbed the victim by the neck and forced him to the floor.

Sykes, of Orchard Avenue, Stanley, Wakefield, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm.

The court heard he has previous convictions for violence.

Jonathan Devlin, mitigating, said his client was sorry for what he had done and had a problem with committing violent offences when he had been drinking.