A BUILDING worker hurled a mug at a workmate while he was pulling on his wellies fracturing a bone in his skull, a court heard.

But a judge showed mercy to Richard Miller and imposed a suspended prison sentence and ordered him to pay his victim £1,200 compensation.

The incident occurred on June 7 after Miller was told that pipe layer Samuel Fox had threatened to knock him out. The two Blackburn men, who were working on a house in Southport, encountered each other while in a portacabin used as a cleaning unit.

Chris Hopkins, prosecuting, said that they exchanged words and a scuffle took place which ended with Miller being restrained in a headlock by Mr Fox.

Miller, 34, left but came back while Mr Fox was leaning forward pulling on his wellies and threw a mug which hit him at the back of his head.

This left him dizzy with temporary sight loss and at hospital it was found that he had suffered an inter cranial haemorrhage and a fractured left temporal bone. He needed six stitches to a cut.

Mr Fox discharged himself from hospital but had to return the next day where he was detained for the day before being released home. He had to take a month off work to recover.

Miller, of Hertford Street, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm at Liverpool Crown Court.

Sentencing him Judge Norman Wright said that he was satisfied that Miller 'had taken umbrage' after being held in a headlock and came back and threw a cup or mug at the other man.

“He was bending down and was vulnerable, not expecting it to happen.”

The court heard that Miller’s partner recently gave birth to their child by Caesarean section and he has an eight-year-old step son with medical problems who is awaiting surgery.

Miller wept in the dock as the judge said that he accepted that he was worried how his partner would cope if he was incarcerated. He pointed out that he has a previous conviction for domestic violence involving his own sister but he had never had the intervention of probation to try to ensure he does not commit any other violent offences.

“Part of the sentencing process is not just to punish you but to prevent further offending and it seems to me that now is the time to do it.”

He sentenced him to 18 months imprisonment suspended for two years and attendance on 30 days rehabilitation activities.

He ordered him to pay compensation at £100 per month and to carry out 200 hours unpaid work.

Paul Wood, defending, said that Miller now works as a taxi driver earning good money and if jailed would lose his livelihood which would have a negative affect on his wife.

Miller regretted his foolish behaviour, he added.