A man who battered a father in front of his two children following a bonfire night argument broke down in tears as he was sentenced to more than a decade behind bars today. John Leach, 34, struck Gary Rigby over his head with a metal wrench on November 5, 2022, leaving the dad-of-two “unconscious and bleeding” in front of his children and girlfriend. Leach appeared in court today, where he pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent after doctors treated Mr Rigby for internal injuries caused by the vicious assault.
The Liverpool ECHO reported Liverpool Crown Court as hearing that, on the day in question, the defendant approached Mr Rigby at around 8.45pm.
After the vicious assault, the dad was whisked to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, including a fractured skull and brain bleed.
Medics stapled a 10cm gash on his head and found he also had an abrasion on his left knee.
Police arrested Leach, of Colworth Road, Speke, after he fled the scene in his girlfriend’s Renault Captur.
Officers tracked her car after a bystander snapped a picture of its licence plate.
Prosecutor Graham Pickavance told the court that the argument leading to the assault ignited when the car drove in the wrong direction down a one-way road.
Mr Rigby was leaving a bonfire display at Moreton Hills Golf Centre with his family when the dad called out Leach’s partner.
The two argued after Leach exited the vehicle, and the defendant yelled: “I know who you are Gary Rigby”, before threatening to “find out where you live”.
After briefly giving chase, Mr Rigby continued with his family towards Morton train station, where they found the Captur parked outside.
Leach allegedly exited the vehicle with a tool thought to be a wrench and headed towards the family before beating the dad.
Judge David Swinnerton said he and his victim were lucky he “did not kill him”, adding he risked “devastating effects for [Mr Rigby’s] family”.
As lawyers made their respective cases during the hearing, Leach broke down and wept.
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The court heard that he had 21 previous violent crime convictions, among them common assault, actual bodily harm, and attacks on police and emergency workers.
David Polglase, defending, argued that he had indicated “genuine remorse” for his behaviour and “a degree of genuine insight”.
But Judge Swinnerton ruled there was a risk of Leach “committing further offences”, adding he has a “short temper” and was “likely to overreact with violence in circumstances such as this”.
Leach was sentenced to six years and three months in prison for section 18 wounding, with an extended licence period of four years.
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