The publisher of a weekly newspaper has been given a community order after headbutting and punching a man who he claimed had branded the paper “racist”.
Danny Lockwood, the founder and publisher at The Press in Dewsbury, was found guilty of assault by beating earlier this month and was given a community sentence with a curfew yesterday (Tuesday).
Kirklees Magistrates’ Court was told earlier this month that Lockwood had attacked Liam Ellis outside a pub last April after a discussion about the paper, leaving him needing five stitches under his left eye and with his vision affected.
He was sentenced to 150 hours unpaid work in the community and has to wear an electronic tag to enforce a 7pm-7am curfew on Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays, which lasts for eight weeks.
Lockwood, 55, of Main Street, Elvington, York, was also ordered to pay £680 in court costs and fees, as well as £250 compensation.
But he told HTFP that his solicitor was filing an appeal against the verdict so he expected a retrial to be held.
Lockwood, who represented himself, was invited to make any comments in mitigation in court but he declined.
He said: “Obviously I don’t agree with the decision of the court but I have to accept that.”
At a one-day trial earlier this month, the court was told that Mr Ellis began talking to Lockwood at the Fox and Hounds pub in Hanging Heaton on 20 April last year.
Lockwood said that Mr Ellis had become loud and threatening during their conversation, branding him and The Press “racist”.
The publisher said he left the pub feeling “upset and shaken” and claimed the assault was in self-defence but Judge Baldwin rejected this account, saying she believed Mr Ellis was going outside to apologise.
Mr Ellis said that after trying to apologise, he was headbutted and punched in his face and arms.
A member of the bar staff then stopped the fight and Mr Ellis was taken to Dewsbury and District Hospital where he received five stitches.
Lockwood is also a columnist for The Press and publisher of Yorkshire Golfer Magazine and rugby title League Weekly.