A young binman who punched a woman apologised afterwards as he “had not realised” she was female.
Morgan Jennings, 18, had entered a shop in March this year when he saw his ex-girlfriend along with her new boyfriend and his sister.
Outside he shouted at them before punching the man hard in the face, leaving him with a nose bleed and several loose teeth.
As the victim was on the floor, his sister confronted Jennings who then punched her on the left side of the head, leaving her with a bump on her head.
She called her mother who drove her and her brother back home and the police were called and Jennings arrested, Leicestershire Live reports.
Jennings, of Thurmaston, pleaded guilty to two counts of assault by beating but denied hitting the female victim more than once or threatening to stab her when he appeared at Leicester Magistrates’ Court.
Representing himself in court, Jennings said: “She came up to me with her hood up and had trousers on so looked like a boy. Not to be offensive, but she did.”
He added: “When I went into the shop he said something to my ex-girlfriend. He whispered something.
“I’ve had constant abuse from her. I’m not going to let someone hit me first.”
The court heard how Jennings had entered Mark Convenience Store in Melton Road, Thurmaston, for a drink at midday on Sunday, March 20, and saw his ex-girlfriend with two other people he did not know. The other two, the court heard, were her new boyfriend and her boyfriend’s sister.
The court heard Jennings had been in a year-long relationship with his ex and it had ended last October. She had been going out with her new boyfriend for about a month.
Since they broke up, Jennings felt he was being harassed by the girl and said she had been phoning people, including his family members, and complaining about him. In the shop, he said, he got the impression the group were whispering about him and he felt threatened, believing they had come to his neighbourhood to find him and attack him.
Outside the store he shouted to them to ask if they knew “whose end” they were in, before punching the man hard to the face, making his nose bleed and leaving him dizzy, with several loose front teeth. He then grabbed the male victim’s jacket and pulled it over his head, snapping the man’s necklace.
The victim managed to pull Jennings to the ground but Jennings then got up and walked away, leaving the victim bleeding and passing in and out of consciousness. The man’s sister, after witnessing the attack, asked Jennings: “What are you playing at?”.
Describing the attack on the young woman, prosecutor Nisha Patel told the court: “There was a second punch and she said she felt dizzy, like she was blacking out. The defendant said, ‘I’m going to stab you’ and she believed he had a knife.”
The court’s legal adviser asked Jennings if he had any reason to think the man would hit him and Jennings admitted he had never met the man or his sister before. He said he worked seven days a week in two jobs – as a night-time warehouse worker for DPD and as a binman for Biffa during the day.
The chair of the bench, Eileen Waldron, told him: “It was impulsive and they were strangers as far as you were concerned. In mitigation, you are of previous good character, you’re only 18, you have a supportive family background and a good work ethic.”
He was given a 12-month community order with 15 days to be spent working with the probation service and he was also ordered pay compensation. His male victim will get £100 and his female victim £50.