A pub landlord, who was scarred for life in an unprovoked assault, has made a formal complaint after police opted not to prosecute his attacker through the courts.
Michael Halsworth, 42, had both lips torn open when he was punched in the face. He needed a number of stitches, and more than two months after the attack is still struggling to eat and suffering from anxiety and loss of self-confidence.
But Mr Halsworth, who runs The Brewery Tap in Idle, Bradford, is furious after police told him the suspect had been given a caution after admitting the offence.
He has complained to West Yorkshire Police’s professional standards department and Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson.
Mr Halsworth said: “I am absolutely outraged. I have not received any form of justice and my attacker has not received any punishment whatsoever. It should have been put before the courts.
“The police told me I could take civil action, but I shouldn’t have to. It is a criminal offence and should have been dealt with by the criminal courts.
“I respected West Yorkshire Police, now I can’t see the point of contacting them in the future. It was probably cheaper and easier for them to deal with it this way, but it’s not justice.”
Mr Halsworth was assaulted late in the evening on November 29 last year after asking a drunken couple to leave his pub. They both tried to attack him with a pint glass, but he managed to push them to the ground. It was then that another man suddenly ran up and punched him in the mouth.
The licensee said: “It was totally unprovoked and malicious. He hit me with such force my tooth went through my bottom lip and left a hole in it, and my top lip was split open.
“My mouth was so swollen I could barely open it. I couldn’t eat and was drinking through a straw for four days. I couldn’t work for a week.
“I am scarred for life. The scars are easily seen and I am constantly aware of them. I have to be careful not to dribble eating things like soup because of the scar tissue. I am self conscious about the way I look and my self confidence has gone.”
Mr Halsworth said he identified the suspect and gave police his name a week after the assault, but no arrest was made.
He said: “Last week I got a call from a marketing company acting on behalf of West Yorkshire Police asking about my experience and I complained about the lack of action. Two days later I got a call from a policewoman to say the suspect had been arrested.
“However, he had made a full and frank admission to the offence, he had no previous convictions and therefore he had been dealt with by a caution. I was astounded.”
Inspector David Collyer, of the Eccleshill Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We have received a formal complaint and will be speaking to Mr Halsworth to discuss his concerns and investigate what happened.”
Inspector David Marshall, of the Bradford District Suspect Management Unit, said West Yorkshire Police had a charging policy in accordance with Home Office guidance, which states police can offer a caution for any offence that can be dealt with by magistrates, but each case is considered individually and the person’s criminal record and circumstances of the offence are taken into account.
The offender must also admit guilt for the caution to be applicable.