Jail for thug who left man blind in one eye

Paul Maitland has been jailed for seven years for glassing a man which left him blind in one eye.
Paul Maitland has been jailed for seven years for glassing a man which left him blind in one eye.

A SCAFFOLDER was blinded in one eye after being hit with a glass in an unprovoked attack at a Hemel Hempstead pub.

Edward Mernin, 33, suffered the life-changing injury when he was struck for no reason at the Greenacres Tavern in Bennetts End.

As a result, he had to undergo painful surgery. His loss of sight has meant he can no longer work and he had to cancel his wedding and honeymoon.

Paul Maitland, 24, of Cheviots, Hemel Hempstead, pleaded guilty to attacking Mr Mernin on Friday, February 25 this year.

He was charged with wounding with intent and was jailed for seven years at St Albans Crown Court.

Prosecutor Maurice Aston said: “Mr Mernin is an ordinary hard working bloke who was out drinking with a couple of mates on a Friday night.

“He had three pints of cider and was with a friend in the smoking area outside at the pub.

“At that point the defendant and his brother went outside. The defendant pushed the glass into his face and it shattered into his left eye. There was no justification or reason for the attack.”

The landlord, who said Maitland had drunk six pints, ordered him and his brother off the premises.

Mr Mernin was taken to Watford General Hospital and then to Moorfields in London. His cornea was cut through and eyeball fluid escaped. He underwent a painful operation where gas bubbles were used to re-inflate the eye. The natural lens of the eye was severely damaged and there was a large tear to the retina.

As a result he has no vision in his left eye, which is only perceptive to light.

Mr Aston said: “It was life-changing. He was a young fit man who is now blind in one eye.

“His job has gone because he can no longer work as a scaffolder. He was supposed to be getting married and going on his honeymoon but that has been put off. He has said: ‘Until it happens to you it is hard to understand.’”

Maitland was arrested two days after the attack. He had two previous convictions for violence in 2007 and for being drunk and disorderly in 2008.

Defence barrister Phillipa Page said Maitland, who has a partner and young baby, wrongly believed there was some provocation earlier in the evening that had got his back up. She said: “It was a moment of complete madness. He is truly sorry and accepts it is entirely his fault.”

Judge John Plumstead said: “The sentence I pass will change your life but not as much as the way you changed Mr Mernin’s life.”