A Welshpool man “who got into the wrong crowd” has avoided being sent to prison for punching and kicking a defenceless man whose RAF career was brought to an end by the "vicious" attacked.

Gareth James Clarkson was 20 years old when he attacked Mark Elliott near Shrewsbury Railway Station on December 12, 2021, while walking with a young woman with whom Clarkson had previously been in a relationship.

Mr Elliott shouted at Clarkson when he thought the young woman was being assaulted and insulted by the Welshpool man.

Clarkson, who had been drinking alcohol, ran across the road and attacked Mr Elliott leaving him with a fractured eye socket and nasal bone and temporary sight loss.

Judge Jason MacAdam said: "You should understand that most murders that come through this court are committed in this sort of way.

"[The attack] could have been so much worse."


Back in August, Clarkson was given six months to "grow up" and prove to the judge that he could change or face an immediate prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm.

"I came to the conclusion that you were at a crossroads," the judge said, "and if I sent you to prison you were likely come out and return [to prison]."

At a sentencing hearing at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court on Friday, February 9, Clarkson was given a two-year prison sentence that was suspended for 24 months because he had stayed out of trouble, got a job, saved money towards Mr Elliott's £1,000 compensation, and not drank alcohol during the past six months.

Clarkson must also wear a tag to track whether he is drinking alcohol for the next 120 days and complete 30 rehabilitation requirement days.

He was not given unpaid work as part of his punishment because the judge believed he could "associate with other criminals and cause you to go off the rails".

County Times:

The judge added: "If you lose this job, you find another one and you pay this compensation otherwise you will be back before the court.

"If you commit an offence in the next two years this suspended sentence will be activated, I have no doubt of that. If you do appear before me, it will be in person at Manchester crown court. You bring a bag because you will not be going home."

The court heard that Mr Elliott was with a young woman he had met on a night out in Shrewsbury in December 2021 when the pair came across Clarkson. He did everything to avoid trouble and kept of the way.

But when Mr Elliott saw the situation with Clarkson and the young woman escalating, the judge said he did the right thing and shouted at Clarkson. The Welshpool man ran towards Mr Elliott who retreated to a doorway before being "viciously" assaulted. The attack was caught on CCTV.

The court heard that the persistent and prolonged attack "deeply affected" Mr Elliott causing him to lose his career in the RAF and suffer from anxiety.

Clarkson, of Bron Gungrog, Gallowstree Bank, was described in court as having a difficult early life "but there was good" in him but got into the wrong crowd.