A TATTOOED drunk attacked a wedding cake deliverer with a tin of mushy peas after he downed her drink at a Nelson pub, a court heard.

Ricky-lee Benson had hurled the ‘weapon’ at victim Katrina Smith after he had been thrown out of the Station Hotel.

After inflicting ‘nasty injuries’ on the victim, the defendant, who had been stealing other people’s drinks as he had had no money, then started a fire at the pub’s emergency fire exit.

Burnley Crown Court was told how the defendant, who had put rubbish at the door and lit it, was caught nearby as witnesses described the culprit as covered in tattoos.

Benson, 29, of Hibson Road, Nelson, admitted assault causing actual bodily harm and attempted arson, last September 26.

He received 12 months in prison, which was suspended for two years, with two years’ supervision.

Emma Kehoe, prosecuting, said Katrina Smith had gone to the pub with friends who were going to hold their wedding reception there. She took the wedding cake.

The victim had been bought a pint of lager, nipped outside for a cigarette and when she returned, she found the previously full glass on the bar empty. One of her friends pointed out that a man had drunk it.

Mrs Kehoe said Ms Smith confronted the defendant. Benson denied it, but she tried to walk him to the bar to buy her another drink.

The defendant began to wave his arms around and got more and more agitated.

Witnesses told him he mustn’t hit a female and the landlord told him to leave and said he was barred.

Ms Smith and some of her friends left the pub and the defendant picked up a very heavy can of mushy peas from his bag and threw it at the victim.

She put her am up, felt a blow and blood coming from the top of her head.

The prosecutor said Benson made off and Katrina Smith felt very dizzy and sat down. An ambulance was called and she was taken to hospital where a head wound was cleaned and glued. She was given a splint to wear on her hand.

Police had been called and saw flames at the pub fire exit door. They found a small fire and were able to stamp it out.

Officers went looking for a ‘man covered in tattoos’ and found Benson further up the road. He was heavily under the influence of drink.

The court heard that Benson had told officers he could remember very little, if anything, of what happened. Benson had two offences on his record.

Sentencing, Recorder Philip Curran told the defendant the fire was a worrying aspect of the case because it was a pub with people inside.

The judge said the probation service felt Benson needed help and he had been making determined efforts to get work and address his alcohol problems.