Thug kneed man in the face and knocked out his teeth during street attack
A thug who attacked a man in the street by kneeing him in the face and knocking out his teeth has avoided going straight to prison.
Tristan Padgett, 22, attacked the man after shouting at him as he walked along Whinney Moor Avenue, Lupset, Wakefield, on the evening of October 10, 2018.
Leeds Crown Court heard Padgett had been following the victim, asking why he was walking away because he wanted to talk to him about an ongoing police investigation.
As the man turned to look over his right shoulder, Padgett punched him in the face.
He then hit him again causing the man's baseball cap to fall off.
Charlotte Noddings, prosecuting said the victim bent down to pick up his hat and Padgett grabbed his head with both hands and kneed him in the face, knocking out two teeth and dislodging a third.
He punched him again in the groin and to the head before walking away.
A motorist passing by who saw the incident stopped and took the victim to Pinderfields Hospital.
He also needed a splint put into his teeth and underwent root canal surgery.
Padgett, of Netherfield Avenue, Netherton, Wakefield, was not arrested until February 7, 2019 and denied assaulting the man, although admitted that he disliked him.
Padgett was later picked out in a police line up.
He pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
The court was told he has four previous convictions, including battery and common assault.
He was also convicted of a drugs offence last year.
Padgett's landlord was called to give evidence, and described him as "never any trouble", and that he paid his rent and worked hard as a chef.
Judge Robin Mairs did not call on Padgett's barrister to provide any further mitigation.
He handed him a 12-month sentence, suspended for 24 months.
Judge Mairs said that he owed the couple with whom he lives with a "debt of gratitude" for helping him turn his life around, and added: "You have also made a great effort to do it yourself, you have a job and are working hard to keep yourself out of bother.
"I won't send you to prison because you have turned things around, but if you blow this opportunity, there won't be another one.
"It was a nasty incident, whatever went on between you (and the victim), I do not care.
"It happened in broad daylight and in front of members of the public.
"What saves you from an immediate custodial sentence is that it was 13 months ago (since he was last in trouble) and you have turned things around."