A 24-year-old man has been jailed for 20 months for squirting a chemical into the face of his former partner’s new boyfriend.
Thomas Trotter turned up armed with the substance in a Lucozade Sport bottle when he agreed to fight Jordan Smith on a football pitch in Bradford Moor on July 7 last year, Bradford Crown Court heard.
Trotter, of Burnham Avenue, Bierley, Bradford, was on trial denying alternative offences of causing Mr Smith grievous bodily harm with intent and attempting to cause him grievous bodily harm.
But on the second day of the case yesterday his plea of guilty to causing actual bodily harm was accepted by the Crown and the jury was directed to clear him of both of the more serious charges.
Judge David Hatton QC said that further examination of Trotter’s phone texts overnight revealed that he had significantly watered down whatever substance was in the bottle before squirting it at Mr Smith.
As the fluid, probably ammonia, had been diluted, it would be impossible for the jury to conclude that he intended or attempted to cause Mr Smith really serious injury.
During the trial, Mr Smith told the jury he was left temporarily blinded and struggling to breathe after ammonia was sprayed in his face.
He spent the night in intensive care at Bradford Royal Infirmary and was treated for burns to his eyes and tongue.
He had made a full recovery, although his eyes were still sensitive to light.
The court was told the men argued over Mr Smith’s relationship with Trotter’s former partner. She had a child with Trotter and he objected to their baby visiting Mr Smith’s home.
Yunus Valli, Trotter’s barrister, said he was already serving a two-year prison sentence imposed in December last year for burglary.
He had no previous convictions for violence and was very sorry for what he had done.
Louise Reevell, prosecuting, said Mr Smith, a plasterer, had lost £1,600 in wages after he was injured in the attack. He was off work for a month and had been unable to drive workmates to jobs.
He had since suffered nightmares and had installed CCTV cameras at his home.
Judge Hatton told Trotter: “It is pretty clear that on that date there was a mutual understanding that you would fight each other. When you met, you had already armed yourself and it was not your intention to have a fair fight, if such a thing exists.”
Trotter’s jail sentence will run concurrently with the prison term he was already serving.