Thug breaks hotel manager’s neck in row over girlfriend’s cleaning standards

A hotel manager suffered a broken neck at the hands of a thug following a row over the hotel's cleanliness.

David James, 35, has been jailed for 12 months after a vicious attack on Jonathan Buck, 49, the manager of the two-star Silver Strand on the Blackpool Promenade, Lancashire.

Preston Crown Court heard that James' partner Sonia had previously been employed as a cleaner but had been sacked over the standard of her work.

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Lancs Live reported that he gave her another chance and let her return to work before receiving further complaints about the state of the rooms on April 17 2022.

The hotel manager confronted Sonia about her work, "quite strongly" telling her that her work was not good enough, and warned her that she may face being sacked again if there were any further issues.

Later, Mr Buck was in the Bull pub with a friend when James walked in, and asked to speak to him outside.

David Clarke, prosecuting, said: "The red mist descended on the defendant and he hit out at Mr Buck.

The court heard that James struck Mr Buck repeatedly to the head and kicked his legs from under him, knocking him to the ground.

On the floor, James got on top of Mr Buck and continued the attack until other customers at The Bull dragged him away.

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, Mr Buck noticed he had bruises to his arms and cuts to his face and elbow.

His neck and back were sore, but he didn't think his injuries required hospital treatment.

But the next morning he took a turn for the worst and woke up in agony.

He headed to the hospital where an X-ray revealed that Mr Buck had a fractured vertebra in his neck.

Doctors said he was extremely lucky his injuries did not leave him paralysed, or worse, Mr Clarke added.

James, of Brighton Avenue, Blackpool, was arrested and told the custody sergeant he had "kicked the s***" out of Mr Buck, and would do it again.

In an interview he admitted he had drank 10 pints and two bottles of lager and had been "stewing" about the way the hotelier had treated his partner.

He said his initial intentions were just to speak to Mr Buck, but during the conversation he was smirking and the red mist descended.

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Hugh Mckee, defending, said: "This was not a planned attack.

"It was borne out of whatever was said at the time and Mr Buck's reluctance to accept responsibility."

He added the defendant was extremely remorseful for his actions and has stopped drinking since the attack.

In a victim impact statement, Mr Buck said before the attack he was fit and healthy and had never even broken a bone.

As a result of his injuries he had to wear a neck brace for five weeks and was unable to carry out basic manual jobs at the hotel.

The court heard James has a number of previous convictions for violence and at the time of the attack was under investigation for an attack on his partner – which he later admitted.

Sentencing, Recorder Imran Shafi said: "This was an appalling act of thuggery.

"Mr Buck describes significant physical, social and psychological after effects of that assault on him.

"Thankfully the situation now appears to be vastly improved for Mr Buck. We are all thankful of that."

James pleaded guilty to section 20 wounding.

Recorder Shafi said the incident was so serious that only a sentence of immediate imprisonment was justified, and jailed him for 12 months.

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