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Leighton Skinner of Calmore jailed for two years after repeated drunken violence

REPEATED late night drunken violence which included headbutting a person and strangling another saw a Forest man sent to prison for two years.

Leighton Skinner (26) of Benbow Gardens, Calmore, committed the offences – including assaulting three police officers – over a three-month period.

Leighton Skinner was jailed for two years (picture: Hampshire police)
Leighton Skinner was jailed for two years (picture: Hampshire police)

Prosecutor Robert Forrest told Southampton Crown Court how Skinner had been drinking with friends in the Lord Nelson pub in Hythe on 6th April last year when he put a customer, who was not known to him, in a headlock.

Explaining the incident, which was caught on CCTV, he said: “The victim initially thought it was a joke but it soon became apparent more was at play. The victim got free, but Skinner then grabbed him and delivered a headbutt with substantial force.

“As the victim fell to the ground, Skinner delivered a hard punch to his face.”

A friend of the victim intervened and pushed Skinner away, who responded by slapping the man and throwing two punches at him.

The victim, who blacked out, suffered injuries including a bloody nose, swelling, and cuts and bruises to his mouth.

The second man was uninjured.

The court heard that a few days after the incident, Skinner found the victim on social media and sent him a message which read: “Alright mate, I’d just like to apologise – I’m being told things but I can’t remember anything. Hope you’re okay.”

He was arrested and gave a no-comment interview before being released under investigation.

Southampton Crown Court
Southampton Crown Court

Mr Forrest explained Skinner committed further offences on 29th July 2023 while drinking with friends at Tokyo nightclub in Southampton.

As he was being thrown out of the club at around midnight for behaving in an aggressive manner, he pushed one of the door staff before putting another in a headlock.

A statement read to the court on behalf of the victim said: “He tried to choke me; I couldn’t breathe. I could hear door staff shouting at him to stop, he was strangling me.

“I was close to blacking out [and] believe I could have got seriously injured.”

Nearby police officers noticed the commotion and detained Skinner after deploying pepper spray.

As Skinner was taken to the ground by officers, he kicked one in the head and another in their knee. A third officer was left with abrasions.

In interview, he told police he thought his drink had been spiked as he had “blacked out” and couldn’t remember the evening’s events.

Mr Forrest added: “The reality is, he had plainly drunk to excess again and lashed out at all sorts of people.”

Skinner pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to ABH, battery, strangulation, and three counts of assaulting an emergency worker.

Defending, Chris Gaiger said Skinner accepted he had “an unhealthy relationship” with alcohol, which was “clearly evident” from his behaviour.

He added: “He has taken guidance to address the issue and is a very different person when he is not consuming alcohol.”

He urged Judge Nicholas Rowland to suspend any term of imprisonment, explaining: “He is fully aware of the seriousness of the offences and that he may lose his liberty.

“However, an immediate prison sentence would impact his ability to work, his accommodation, and ability to pay any compensation.

“He is open to dealing with his problems and engaging with probation, and has a realistic prospect of rehabilitation.”

Judge Rowland disagreed and said: “A custodial sentence must be imposed in this case.”

Sending him down for 24 months he told Skinner: “When in drink and out of control, you have a pattern of putting people in a headlock, which could lead to very serious consequences.”

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