A man who punched a father in a public house in front of his young son has been spared an immediate prison sentence and ordered to pay his victim £1,000 compensation.

Dale Bennett attacked the man in The Royal Oak Hotel, Oakworth Road, Keighley, on Boxing Day, 2019, fracturing his left cheekbone.

Bennett, 52, of Lauren Drive, Keighley, pleaded guilty to causing his victim grievous bodily harm in an assault that Recorder David Kelly said was entirely unprovoked.

Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday that the victim and his son were playing pool in the pub shortly before the attack.

Bennett approached the man from behind when he was at the bar and then punched him in the face.

The victim staggered back against the pool table and fell to the floor. He was knocked out for a few seconds to the distress of his son who witnessed the attack, the court was told.

The man was treated in hospital for a fractured cheekbone and was now extremely nervous of going to pubs.

Bennett’s barrister, Peter Hampton, said he had no convictions for violence and the court could suspend the prison sentence.

“There was no weapon. It was impulsive, spontaneous and short-lived,” he said.

Mr Hampton pointed to the long delay in bringing the case to court. Bennett was not even charged until January this year, he said.

He had a difficult start as a young man but he had built a strong family life. He was described as a good husband and father.

He worked as a utility contractor and had been a pub landlord in the past.

Bennett was also a football coach for some years.

“This truly was a one-off aberration,” Mr Hampton said.

“It’s been a salutary experience for him waiting 18 months to know his fate.”

Recorder Kelly labelled the assault “inexplicable,” saying he couldn’t begin to under-stand what was going through Bennett’s mind at the time.

He punched the man in the face “without any provocation whatsoever,” in the presence of his young son.

Although there was no mitigation for the offence itself, there had been “an inexcusable delay” in bringing the case to court.

Bennett was a good husband and father and numerous character references spoke very highly of him.

Recorder Kelly sentenced Bennett to eight months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, with 180 hours of unpaid work. He ordered him to pay his victim £1,000 compensation at £50 a month.