Ex-bouncer who hurled racist and homophobic abuse at gay bar begs to be spared jail
A former bouncer hurled racist and homophobic abuse in a "disgraceful" attack at a gay bar where he used to work. Craig Garnell sobbed as Liverpool Crown Court heard how he headbutted a promoter outside city centre venue Superstar Boudoir. He chased the victim into the Stanley Street nightclub and shouted "you looked at my girlfriend, you f****t" before punching him.
Garnell was confronted by a black doorman and replied: "Do you know who I am? You will be sacked in the morning you f***ing n*****." But the dad-of-two walked free from court after a judge said he believed his tears in the dock showed he was genuinely remorseful.Craig Garnell, 29, of Lord Street, Hindley, Wigan, handed 12 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, after admitting assault causing actual bodily harm and affray
Simon Duncan, prosecuting, said drunken Garnell approached Alex Wright outside the venue at 1am and asked "what are you looking at?"
He said Mr Wright replied "nothing" but the 29-year-old delivered a headbutt, leaving the victim feeling dizzy and in pain. The promoter retreated inside the venue, but Garnell shoved another doorman, Sean McDonald, out of the way to get to him. CCTV showed one of Garnell's friends trying to hold him back, but he then clashed foreheads with bouncer Simba Nuzazi.
He was recognised by staff as he used the N-word to Mr Nuzazi, who chose not to make a statement about the July 7, 2017 incident.
Mr Wright, who suffered a 3cm bruise to his forehead and a swollen left eye, told the court his life had been affected. He said: "I don't feel safe in public, around drunks and being out at night. I have no confidence and I'm always looking over my shoulder.
"I don't do as many night shifts as I did and I have started to work behind the bar in case I have another confrontation with anybody else." When arrested on July 30, Garnell told police: "I was acting in self defence and I admit I used racial and homophobic language." Garnell, of Lord Street, Hindley, Wigan, who has no previous convictions, admitted assault causing actual bodily harm and affray.
Laura Tipping, defending, said her client had mental health problems including Bipolar disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
She said he had not drunk alcohol since his diagnosis, but stopped taking his medication as he thought he was getting better and went out drinking. Ms Tipping said he had two children and a fiancee and had secured a new job at a company producing catering and janitorial products. Recorder Mukhtar Hussain, QC, said Garnell had drunk "a fair amount of alcohol" and attacked Mr Wright "out of really nothing".
The judge said: "What you did was in my view disgraceful. You followed this with the comments, which were clearly racist and homophobic."Craig Garnell, 29, of Lord Street, Hindley, Wigan, handed 12 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, after admitting assault causing actual bodily harm and affray
Recorder Hussain said there was no evidence the attack was motivated by racism or homophobia, but those were the words Garnell used. He said it was accepted by the prosecution that the injuries were not serious, but their impact on Mr Wright was quite serious.
The judge said: "This has affected his job and affected him working outside the club. He is now very wary when approaching customers."
Garnell sobbed and said "I'm sorry", before begging "please" when Recorder Hussain said he was considering whether to suspend his jail sentence. The judge said: "You are a man now 29 with no previous convictions and I have observed you throughout the hearing.
You clearly show a genuine remorse. "With that, being a man of good character, I am prepared to accept this was an incident which was out of character for you. "I take into account the fact you have two young children and you're now in gainful employment.
"I am going to take a chance and I hope you will not let me down, the court down or indeed your family."
He handed Garnell 12 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, with a 40-day rehabilitation activity requirement.
Recorder Hussain ordered him to carry out a four-month home curfew from 9pm to 5am daily.
He also told Garnell to pay Mr Wright GBP450 in compensation and GBP250 towards prosecution costs.