A NURSE lost a front tooth after being punched by a man who was hallucinating because he was coming off alcohol.

Blackburn magistrates heard Yvonne Hargreaves was assisting Jamie Hargreaves, who is of no relation, when he suddenly turned and thumped her.

The court heard Mrs Hargreaves had been caused ‘considerable pain and distress’ but despite that had written a letter to the court asking for leniency and attended the hearing.

After Jamie Hargreaves had been made subject to a suspended prison sentence he and the aggrieved hugged outside the court room.

Jamie Hargreaves, 42, of Anchor House, Merchants Landing, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to assaulting Mrs Hargreaves causing her actual bodily harm.

He was sentenced to 20 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months and made subject to a community order with a nine months alcohol treatment requirement and 15 days rehabilitation activity requirement. He was also ordered to pay £400 compensation to Mrs Hargreaves.

Catherine Allan, prosecuting, said Mrs Hargreaves was on duty in the accident and emergency department at Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital and Jamie Hargreaves was in one of the cubicles.

As she walked past she noticed he had got out of bed and he had dropped some money on the floor.

She picked it up and was handing it to him when, without warning, he turned round and swung a punch which caught her full in the face.

Miss Allan said the blow removed a front tooth causing considerable pain and distress.

"The cost of dental work will be around £2,500 and she is still waiting for surgery two months after the incident,” said Miss Allan. She submitted a letter to the magistrates which Mrs Hargreaves had written.

Mr Price said his client had a long standing problem with alcohol.