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Botley glassing victim relives horror at Southampton Crown Court
A FATHER-of-three told a court how he had been left scarred for life when he was glassed while celebrating a friend’s wedding.
Jonathon Cooper told jurors he had been with his wife and children at the reception at the Kings Restaurant in Botley.
He said that after his children had been taken home by relatives he was making his way across the room when he walked past Ryan Prendergast, who reached out and twisted his nipples for no apparent reason.
Though shocked, he did not confront him and returned to his seat. At the end of the night Mr Cooper went outside to see if his father-in-law had arrived to pick up him and his wife, when he again saw Prendergast and asked him about the earlier incident.
He said when he repeated the question Prendergast became very aggressive and started swearing.
After a bit of pushing, Prendergast swung his right hand out at him while holding a glass, which connected with his left cheek.
CCTV footage showed the defendant running from the scene while other guests gave first aid to Mr Cooper, who needed surgery to repair three deep gashes across his face, one of which ran from his ear to his chin.
“One of the first things the consultant said to me was that I would be scarred and that I would be scarred for life,” said Mr Cooper.
His wife, Lyndsey, said she got between the pair and told Prendergast to calm down as it was a wedding.
Weeping, she described how Prendergast struck her husband in the face.
She said: “It was hard, there was a real crunching sound. He put his hand up to his face and said ‘he’s cut me’. The man then ran off.”
Prendergast, 29, of Winchester Road, Waltham Chase, denied causing grievous bodily harm with intent but jurors took less than an hour to convict him.
Judge Peter Ralls QC directed the probation service to address the question of dangerousness in its report, remanding Prendergast in custody pending sentence next month.
Prendergast, who is a cousin of the bride, admitted he had tweaked Mr Cooper’s nipples as he and his wife tried to pass him on stairs.
He said: “It was a jokey thing to do to make the situation lighter. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have done it. There was no malice.”
He said he felt nervous when Mr Cooper saw him later. He claimed Mr Cooper grabbed him and he tried to pull away.
When shown a photo of Mr Cooper’s injuries, Prendergast began crying and said: “I don’t want to look at it. It’s terrible.
“I didn’t intend to cause those injuries.”