A British Army lieutenant who slapped his superior in the face with a vodka bottle requiring a blood transfusion was acquitted of assault after alleging it was an accident.
Lieutenant David Southwick broke Captain Freddie Sochon’s nose when he hit him with the bottle of Absolut Vodka.
A court-martial learned that the couple had drunk a lot in the officers’ mess after a barbecue with two others, and that Lt. Southwick was so drunk that he started tossing “glass bottles” across the room.
Other officials decided it was time to put him to bed after ruining a deck of cards by pouring beer on the cards. But after walking to the door, Lt Southwick hit his manager and “very good friend” with it.
Capt Sochon was hospitalized for a week because of his injuries and was bleeding so badly that he had to undergo a blood transfusion. Lt Southwick of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers denied a charge of assault and was acquitted after alleging it was an accident.
Bulford Military Court, Wilts heard the two had known each other for several years after attending the same high school together at Loughborough, Leics and then both going to Newcastle University.
Last November, Lt. Southwick and two other officers went to a barbecue and celebrated Capt Sochons last night in the officers’ mess at the RMP Chivenor in North Devon before taking a training course.
Lt Southwick insisted that he never wanted to hit Capt Sochon with the bottle but “took a threat” after his friend hugged him and forgot the bottle was in his hands.
Lt Southwick, who was second lieutenant at the time, said, “We had never argued about anything.” Capt Sochon grabbed my arms and was visibly annoyed and aggressive to say the least.
“I had a bottle of Absolut Vodka in my hand, but it didn’t cross my mind at the time.” I felt a threat; I felt like he was going to bring me down and start holding me.
“I tried to push his arms away from me and hit him with the bottle as she twisted around his arms.” At first I felt his arms fall away from me so I stepped back. I could see that he was injured. Almost immediately he came up to me and hit me, and I fell on the coffee table.
“I felt terrible. I had absolutely no intention of hitting anyone – especially not a close friend of mine. ”As evidence, Capt Sochon said the night had started brightly but ended with Lt Southwick’s drunken behavior.
He told the court, “We started drinking and playing games, and at one point Lt. Southwick started throwing glass bottles around the room.
“Some crashed and some were thrown uncomfortably close to other people in the room.
“Later we played cards and Lt Southwick started pouring beer on the cards. He was clearly more drunk than anyone else in the room.
“Around midnight, another officer and I decided it was time to put Lt Southwick to bed.
“We went out one behind the other and I was behind Lt Southwick. “There was a table near the door and I thought he was going to move his hand towards the handle, but Lt Southwick grabbed a bottle of vodka very quickly and immediately spun around with an outstretched arm to his right and hit me with the bottle and held her by the neck.
“It hit me in the side of my nose with enough force to deflect my septum. At this point, Lt Southwick was still standing in front of me with the bottle in hand, so I punched him in the nose.”
The court heard the blow break Lt Southwick’s nose and fly him onto a coffee table where he hit his head and suffered a concussion.
Capt Sochon, who was a lieutenant at the time of the incident, said he “painted the floor with blood” before being taken to the nearby North Devon District Hospital and later transferred to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.
Capt Sochon was released the next morning and returned to his grandparents’ home near RMP Chivenor own blood ”.
Later that week, he was operated on under general anesthesia and had to have a blood transfusion after losing 40 percent of his blood.
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