A DRUNKEN customer punched two pub landladies – knocking one unconscious – after shouting homophobic abuse at them.

Burnley Crown Court heard married father-of-three Nigel James Tomlinson had also aimed homophobic abuse at a barman at the Dog and Partridge, Baxenden, in the build-up to the attack on Melanie and Sue Henning on October 11.

Prosecuting, Holly Nelson said the couple, who had only recently taken over the pub in Back Lane, became concerned by Tomlinson’s behaviour on the night.

Ms Nelson said: “They talk of the defendant acting inappropriately and disturbing other users of the public house.

“After uttering a number of homophobic comments around Melanie he directed homophobic abuse at the barman as well.”

The court heard that 39-year-old Tomlinson, an electrician, was ejected from the pub by Melanie, but returned at 12.45am as the couple were locking up.

Tomlinson asked Melanie: “Why did you throw me out? What was that for?”

Ms Nelson said Tomlinson then punched Melanie twice in the face, knocking her unconscious, and then landed a single blow to Sue.

Tomlinson, of Langford Street, Baxenden, pleaded guilty to two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Defending, Jane Dagnall said her client was drinking too much at the time of the incident. having serious concerns on an impending diagnosis for his mother. Ms Dagnall said her client’s worst fears had proven true and his mother had died.

She said: “He is very upset by his actions on the night and drink certainly had a part to play. This certainly does cross the custody threshold. He recognises what is going on here. He has apologised for the homophobic comments made.”

Judge Simon Medland QC said: “This offence was aggravated because of the homophobic comments and attitude displayed. This was an assault on pub landladies at their own premises.”

READ > Teen threw pint glass at future mother-in-law after pub toilets row

Tomlinson was given a four-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months. He was also ordered to pay the Hennings £1,000 compensation each and £500 costs. A five-year restraining order was also imposed.