Man took friend's half-hearted challenge to punch him seriously and broke his jaw

Leo Genter punched his friend on a night out and broke his jaw
-Credit: (Image: Hull Live)

Banter between two good friends suddenly turned violent when one of them unexpectedly punched his mate in the face, breaking his jaw, after a half-hearted challenge from the victim to hit him suddenly turned deadly serious.

Leo Genter became fed up with his friend moaning about not being able to draw out any money and quickly suggested: "Well, a good punch will sort you out."

The victim made the mistake of telling him "Do it then" but, to his surprise, Genter took it seriously and immediately lashed out with a hard punch, Hull Crown Court heard. Genter, 20, of Cottingham Road, Hull, admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm on his friend on August 24, 2022.


Nigel Clive, prosecuting, said that Genter had known his friend for about a year and, on the day of the incident, they went out socialising with another male. At 5.50pm, they walked past Hull railway station.

The friend was annoyed about not being able to withdraw money and was complaining about this to Genter, who told him: "Well, a good punch will sort you out." The friend told him "Do it then" in what was not a serious challenge but was probably meant as bravado as part of the socialising. He did not expect Genter actually to hit him but Genter did so and punched him in the face.

The victim knew immediately that he had been seriously injured and was spitting blood from his mouth. "The defendant immediately realised what he had done and began to apologise," said Mr Clive. As they were not far from Hull Royal Infirmary, they walked there and, while they were there, Genter made a telephone call of apology to the friend's mother.

It was discovered that the victim had suffered a fractured jaw in two places on either side. He had an operation under general anaesthetic to insert metal plates into both sides of his jaw to pin it into place. He was discharged the next day.

The healing process was satisfactory but the victim returned to the trauma clinic in October. He had disregarded some of the medical advice that he had been given and had suffered an infection, which was treated.

Genter made no comment during two police interviews. The victim said in a statement that it was not nice to know that he had suffered permanent damage that was going to last for the rest of his life. He had regarded Genter as a good friend. "He knows that I would never do anything like this to him and I don't know why he thought he could do it to me," he said.

Sentence on Genter for that matter had been deferred but he went on to commit offences of assaulting another man, causing actual bodily harm, and also assaulting a security officer and assaulting a female police officer on December 30 last year.

Genter made a rude remark about a woman's weight, causing her distress, and leading to matters "taking a turn for the worse". There was an argument and Genter and a man began pushing each other.

The man punched Genter in the chest but Genter was carrying a beer bottle and he hit the man twice in the eyebrow area, causing the bottle to break the second time.

A security guard saw what happened and took hold of Genter and pulled him to the ground, telling him to calm down. "The defendant began to fight, punching him several times to the face," said Mr Clive.

The security guard later discovered that his arm was bleeding because he and Genter had been rolling on glass from the broken bottle used to assault the other man.

Genter was not easily arrested by police and he tried to headbutt a female police officer. "She dodged out of the way," said Mr Clive.

Genter had a previous conviction in December 2023 for assaulting a police officer by headbutting. He had not wanted to be handcuffed.

He later boasted: "I headbutted a f***ing copper. That's the funniest thing I have done for a while." The grievous bodily harm offence happened before the assault on the police.

Oliver Shipley, mitigating, said that Genter had been in custody on remand since January. He had suffered problems with the way that he dealt with difficulties and alcohol was the catalyst for his offending.

"He is keen, on his release, to sort this out," said Mr Shipley. "He knows that help is not going to come and find him. He needs to go and seek it."

While in custody, Genter had earned qualifications in catering and joinery and had done courses in information technology and in health and safety.

Judge Mark Bury told Genter: "You need to think before you act. A lot of these offences would have been avoided if you had just taken a breath. You need to be careful when you are released. Any more violence like this and the sentences will be longer."

Genter was sent to a young offenders' institution for two-and-a-half years.