Zutons singer ordered to compensate headbutt victim

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The Independent Culture

The lead singer of rock band The Zutons, who broke a man's nose after his girlfriend was insulted, was today ordered to do 150 hours' unpaid work and compensate his victim.

Dave McCabe, 29, headbutted Peter Appleby during an alcohol-fuelled row outside a nightclub in Liverpool.

McCabe, who wrote the hit song Valerie which was covered by Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson, reacted with violence after one of Mr Appleby's friends mocked his girlfriend's fur-collared coat, saying it looked like she had a beard.

The rock star claimed he had acted in self-defence but was convicted of assault by a jury following a trial at Liverpool Crown Court in September.

Today, he was given a community order and told to pay the victim £1,500 plus court costs of £3,500.

McCabe, dressed in a blue shirt and grey suit and tie, agreed to pay the money within seven days.

Trouble began in the early hours of Sunday February 21 this year.

The star - whose songs include Calm Me Down and Havana Gang Brawl - had attended his mother's 60th birthday party earlier in the evening.

He then went with his girlfriend Sheree Grist to Korova nightclub in Liverpool city centre with his brothers and friends.

McCabe drank three glasses of wine and five bottles of Corona lager during the evening.

The pair left the club at 3.30am as did Mr Appleby, 23, and four of his friends. They were all drunk.

One of them, student Ciaran Donnelly, said Miss Grist's fur-collared coat made it look like she had a beard.

She overheard and said to the group: "Why don't you grow up, you dickheads?"

The singer-songwriter, of Vale Road, Liverpool, apologised for her outburst but told the group not to pick on them.

He headbutted Mr Appleby, who had downed six pints of Guinness, thinking he was about to be attacked, he said.

The jury of six men and five women unanimously convicted him of assault during a three-day trial in September.

Today, defence barrister Henry Gow said McCabe, who has no previous convictions, regretted the clash.

He said: "It was an over-reaction from this otherwise very decent man, in every respect he regrets it.

"It has been upsetting and he has found it has affected him very very deeply.

"There is no chance of him coming back before the courts.

"It has been a salutary lesson to this man.

"He offers his very sincere apologies to the victim and is very sorry for what happened that night."

Recorder Alan Conrad QC said: "I don't believe the remark was intended to be offensive.

"It was a serious assault causing painful injury and committed at night, in public and in drink."

Saying the victim "in no way wanted to cause trouble", he told McCabe: "In your favour you have never been in trouble before.

"I accept you were not intent on causing trouble that night until the time came when you over-reacted to a perceived insult to your girlfriend.

"You are a man who has achieved a considerable degree of fame and success but I am making it clear I am dealing with you in exactly the same way as anybody else."