A GARAGE worker broke a student’s jaw in two places in violence sparked by a joke about a football, York Crown Court heard.

The victim and two other students were returning to their home in Tang Hall, York, when they were assaulted by Adam Ozam, 30, and  Suzanne Dobson, 43, said Rob Galley, prosecuting.

Ozam hit the victim so hard on the face the victim later told police "it was the hardest punch he had ever felt,” said Mr Galley.

He felt a gap in his teeth with his tongue after the punch and had to be taken to accident and emergency.

Surgeons later inserted plates into his jaw. York Crown Court heard they will be in place permanently.

The incident had began when the victim and his two companions encountered two people with a football and one of the group asked if they could have a pass.

The two people with the football declined and the victim made the comment “let’s nick it” about the football.

“He meant that as a joke,” said Mr Galley.

Dobson and Ozam were nearby and first Dobson confronted the student and his companion.

Mr Galley said the student told Dobson to “grow some eyebrows”. She hit him on the face with a closed fist twice and pushed him to the back of his head.

Then Ozam arrived and punched the victim.

Defence solicitor advocate Mark Foley said: “This incident should never have happened. I am sure all parties are of that view.”

Ozam admitted causing the student grievous bodily harm and assaulting his two companions. He was given a nine-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months on condition he does 15 days’ rehabilitative activities and 100 hours’ unpaid work.

For him Mr Foley said: “He lost it because of their (the students) attitude, not necessarily something they did.”

The punch that broke the jaw was “impetuous and instinctive”.

“It was a single punch which unfortunately had very serious consequences," said Mr Foley.

Self-employed delivery driver Dobson admitted assaulting the student. She was given an 18-month community order with 80 hours’ unpaid work. Both defendants live in Asquith Avenue, Tang Hall.

Mr Foley said she was remorseful.

Mr Galley said the student and his companions had been out in the city centre on Sunday, May 14 last year.

At 7pm they were making their way back to their home when they encountered the two people with the football.