A bouncer weighing 16st who broke a woman's neck as he ejected her from a club avoided jail yesterday despite being found guilty of causing actual bodily harm.
Blue Kinane, 37, of Slough, Berks, was ordered to pay ?2,000 compensation to Joanne Piednoir, 44, and was given a 12-month suspended sentence. He will also have to perform 150 hours of community service.
Reading Crown Court heard that Miss Piednoir suffered the serious spinal injury when she was put in a headlock by Kinane at Liquid nightclub in Windsor last May.
She spent months in hospital and yesterday, just over a year later, she could walk but has to use a wheelchair for distances of more than 150 yards.
Judge Gordon Risius told Kinane he recognised that the harm he had caused was not intentional but his victim now faced "a bleak future". "You did not intend or foresee the injury you inflicted," he said. "I have come to the conclusion that you do not present a significant risk of serious harm to the public." Miss Piednoir, whose disabilities have prevented her from working, is seeking compensation in an on-going civil case against Kinane and the nightclub for loss of earnings.
The court heard that Kinane had used a "nelson" headlock, which is not used by police because it is deemed "inherently dangerous", and that he had used it "thousands of times" despite twice rendering people unconscious.
The hold involves putting both arms under the subject's arms and locking hands on the back of his or her head.
Bouncers approached Miss Piednoir after she got into a row with another woman about a shortage of toilet paper during a girls' night out. Friends denied claims by staff that Miss Piednoir had become "quite angry and animated" or that she was using "colourful language".
Miss Piednoir fled the court in tears after the sentence was passed.
She refused to speak after the short hearing but a family member said: "It's a disgrace. He's ruined her life.
"She can't even look after her children any more. And to top it off, she has had to come out of court to see him celebrating."