Man jailed after a row about lunch leads to "sustained assault" on his own son

Leeds Crown Court.
Leeds Crown Court.

A man has been jailed after attacking his son following a row about lunch.

The victim had gone to the home his father, Mark Garforth, shared with new girlfriend Julie Lowe to get some help with a tax return but ended up in Pinderfields Hospital after having been punched several times to the eye, head and ribs.

Leeds Crown Court heard it only stopped when Ms Lowe intervened and even though the 22-year-old managed to flee the house his family were alarmed enough by the injuries to call an ambulance.

Outlining the case, Jonathan Sharp, prosecuting said: "There was a small argument with Ms Lowe and the defendant took exception to that, lost his temper and set about his sustained assault. He punched him to the lip, right eye, several times to the ribs. The victim fell to the ground and the defendant continued punching him to the head and ribs and did not stop until Ms Lowe intervened. He was bleeding heavily from the mouth and sustained significant bruising to the right eye."

The incident in May this year comes after Garforth, of Magdalene Road, Wakefield was already subject to a suspended sentence for an attack on a man in a pub on Boxing Day in 2017. In that case, Mr Sharp added, Garforth set about his victim as he was making his way out of the Tawny Owl pub at Ossett over claims the victim was "spreading gossip" about him. He suffered a fractured pelvis and a dislocated hip.

Mitigating in the case at Leeds Crown Court on Wednesday was Christopher Morton.

He said: "There was a fall out about lunch. Mr Garforth was not party to that. He was in the house but when he heard his son speak to Julie the way that he was and the unpleasant things he was saying - he intervened."

An argument of self-defence was rejected at an earlier hearing and Mr Morton added that while there was no previous incidents between the father and son, the relationship had been strained since Garforth and his son's mother had separated.

He said: "His son is unemployed and the defendant has his own business. The strained relationship was by his son constantly asking for money."

A series of character references from Garforth's family, friends, neighbours and work colleagues were presented to the judge.

But, His Honour Judge Jameson said he was bound by sentence guidelines, which meant imposing the suspended sentence from the 2017 incident. He jailed Garforth for 22 months to run at the same time as the six months prison sentence for the attack on his son.

He said: "It may well have been circumstances that led you to lose your temper but unfortunately that did not stop it being an unpleasant assault bringing injuries as a result of which he had to go to hospital. It is probably a six month sentence but the problem is that puts you in breach for a 22 month sentence imposed for a more serious assault.

"I am obliged to impose that and I can't see any grounds for finding it would be unjust."