A TEENAGER launched a cowardly attack with a knuckle duster which broke a man's eye socket and cheekbone.

Kieran Stretton was jailed for four years by Judge James Burbidge QC at Worcester Crown Court on Wednesday after punching Robert Brook with a knuckle duster outside a chip shop in Evesham High Street, the victim at one stage fearing he was blind.

The 19-year-old, who was with a large group at the time, launched what the judge called a 'cowardly' and 'unprovoked' attack on February 27 last year as the victim was looking away.

Stretton, who was sentenced over videolink as his mum looked on from the public gallery, showed no emotion as the sentence was announced. The court heard how the defendant had also cut of his electronic tag.

The teenager had been convicted by a jury of section 18 grievous bodily harm with intent and possession of an offensive weapon on June 17 this year. He had already pleaded guilty to breaching his criminal behaviour order, made in July 2019 to try and curb his ongoing antisocial antics.

Stretton has previous convictions for ABH, criminal damage and possessing a bladed article which made him subject to a mandatory minimum term for a repeat offence involving another offensive weapon - the knuckle duster.

Judge Burbidge, who presided over the trial, said Mr Brook had been in Evesham High Street with his partner, leaving the car to visit a fish and chip shop when he had to walk through a group which included Stretton and his friends who 'surrounded him' and 'harangued him' over an incident involving driving the day before to which some members of the group had taken exception.

Judge Burbidge, however, stressed there had been no fault on the part of Mr Brook and that Stretton had not even been present the previous day.

Stretton was heard to say: "Come on boys, let's do him!"

"Because you were in a group you were emboldened. You had a knuckle duster in your pocket. Why you wanted to attack someone is beyond comprehension. Perhaps this mindless violence was because you wanted to look big in front of your friends," the judge told him.

As Mr Brook was turning away the judge told Stretton: "You took your cowardly chance to punch him full force with your first, armed with the knuckle duster, to the right side of his face. He also had drink thrown over him."

The victim suffered a fractured cheekbone and eye socket and required hospital treatment. He 'went blind immediately' on the punch but his sight has since returned. The impact upon him was laid out in two victim personal statements which included numbness to his face, pain, discomfort, swelling and sleepless nights.

Mr Brook was also forced to give evidence from the witness box because of Stretton's denial. "I have rarely seen someone so emotionally affected by a an assault of this kind" said the judge.

Mr Brook was described by the judge as 'a robust but modest individual' who had found the experience of recalling the unprovoked attack 'overwhelming'.

Judge Burbidge listed the aggravating features, including that the attack was 'entirely unprovoked' and that it happened in public outside a busy fish and chip shop.

He added: "You must have had some pre-meditation because you were carrying a knuckle duster.

That's not just an ornament."

Because of his youth at the time of the offence (18), the judge did not find him dangerous in law although he Stretton been identified as a high risk offender by the probation service. He also took into account the defendant's mental health, including his ADHD and possible Asperger's syndrome.

The judge ordered him to be detained for four years in a Young Offender Institution. A qualifying curfew will mean that 63 days will count towards this sentence despite the judge telling Stretton 'you cut your tag off'. He can expect to serve half the sentence in custody and half on licence in the community.