Leeds man broke his friend's leg during drunken scuffle after accusing him of 'ruining his birthday'

A Leeds man left his friend needing a wheelchair after breaking his leg in a drunken scuffle, after accusing the victim of “ruining his birthday”.
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Paul Leeming, 56, was sentenced today for causing grievous bodily harm – which left the victim in “unbearable pain” and needing surgery after the assault.

On August 13, 2020, the victim invited Leeming over to his home for a drink after finding out it was the defendant’s birthday. Leeming arrived at the property in Leeds at 7.30am, bringing with him a bottle of brandy. Cocaine was delivered to the house an hour later.

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They invited another female friend over to the house and the three drank together. Prosecuting, Graham O’Sullivan said the mood was “initially good”, but at 12.30pm the defendant said he wanted to buy more cocaine and left the house to withdraw money.

Paul Leeming, 56, was sentenced today at Leeds Crown Court (Photo: Jonathan Gawthorpe)Paul Leeming, 56, was sentenced today at Leeds Crown Court (Photo: Jonathan Gawthorpe)
Paul Leeming, 56, was sentenced today at Leeds Crown Court (Photo: Jonathan Gawthorpe)

When he returned three hours later, his mood appeared to have changed - he was very loud and accused the victim of “ruining his birthday”, Mr O’Sullivan said. His friends told Leeming to leave the property but they suspected he was still inside and eavesdropping outside the living room.

After around five minutes, the victim opened the living room door and Leeming barged past him into the room. Leeming started shouting at the woman and threatening her, accusing the pair of talking about him. Leeds Crown Court heard that he then punched her to the side of his head and face - although he was never charged for an attack on the woman.

The man tried to reason with Leeming and jumped on his back in an attempt to restrain him. The victim fell to the floor and badly broke his leg during the scuffle. The woman called the police and Leeming was arrested. He refused to answer questions during police interviews.

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Mr O’Sullivan read out a victim impact statement from the man, who had to have surgery and was left needing a wheelchair while he learned to walk again. The victim said the pain “was unbearable and difficult to manage”. He added that after seeing his injury for the first time, he broke down in tears.

Leeming, of Seacroft Gate, Leeds, pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm on the day a trial was due to begin. He has 10 previous convictions for 21 offences, but none since 2008.

Mitigating for Leeming, Natalie Banks said the attack was “undoubtedly an impulsive and spontaneous assault and short lived” and that the defendant suffered from mental health issues. She added that Leeming was living in secure accommodation, where he helped out elderly residents, and had a number of pets which he cares for - fish, cats and a bearded dragon.

“He’s very anxious about what would happen to those if he went into custody,” Ms Banks added.

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Sentencing Leeming, the judge, Recorder Jeremy Hill-Baker, said: “I’m satisfied from what I heard that you did not deliberately cause that injury, but it was caused when you shrugged him off, being reckless as to whether he was going to get injured or not.”

Leeming was sentenced to 10 months in prison, suspended for two years, and required to complete 20 days rehabilitation activity.