'He picked on the wrong man': 6ft 4in thug left with dislocated shoulder after attacking ex-boxing champion pensioner


John Hall
Tuesday 13 November 2012 14:40

A 6ft 4in thug who attacked a pensioner was left with a dislocated shoulder after his victim floored him with two right hooks.

71-year-old John Cokeley was at home watching television in his slippers at 10.15pm when he heard Mark Pearce arguing with an ill neighbourhood friend.

The former Army boxing champion went outside to tell Pearce to calm down, but the 34-year-old punched him in the face twice, smashing his glasses, knocking him to the ground and causing a black eye.

But Mr Cokeley, who was an undefeated professional welterweight boxer while in the Army, immediately got back on his feet and delivered a “roundhouse blow”, flooring Pearce.

Pearce struggled to his feet but was floored for a second time when Mr Cokeley punched him in the stomach.

Pearce denied causing actual bodily harm, claiming he was acting in self-defence after being attacked by the pensioner.

But he was today found guilty and sentenced to a six month prison sentence suspended for two years. He was also given a 12 month supervision order and ordered to pay £175 costs.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Cokeley said: “I told him I didn’t want to get involved, I just wanted some peace and quiet. That was when he hit me quite hard. He said ‘do you want some of this’.”

“I said no, I’m going to call the police and he hit me again. Then I thought enough is enough, so I threw out a right and he went down.”

“He ran back at me and I hit him a good hard blow in the side. He stayed down and then the police came.”

“It is years since I was in a ring and I did not want to punch anyone unless I could not avoid it. He is a young man and 6ft 4in tall.”

“I may be quite small but I am very fit for my age and I guess you could say I am quite tough. He didn’t know who I was and I guess he picked on the wrong man.”

Recorder Brian Lett QC called the altercation ‘a disgraceful incident’, adding “[Mr Cokeley] was able to call upon his professional training of many years to fight back. You assaulted him, the peacemaker, which I can only describe as serious.”

Pearce was cleared of common assault on neighbour Robert Kell in the dispute which led to the attack.

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