Man jailed for 'gutless' attack

Edward Blackwell might well be a nice guy, just don't run into him when he's been drinking.

That was the conclusion a Port Kembla Local Court magistrate was left to draw after being told Blackwell, the person responsible for putting another man in hospital with a nasty jaw fracture, was, in fact, a nice guy.

"I'm reading wonderful things about you in these references," magistrate Michael Stoddart said of letters written to the court by Blackwell's friends and family.

"They say you're a good person with a good heart."

But Mr Stoddart said Blackwell's behaviour on the night of June 7, outlined in a police statement, painted a disturbing picture of a man with serious alcohol and anger issues.

The court heard Blackwell, who police said was well known for his violent behaviour when drunk, repeatedly punched the 49-year-old victim in a seemingly unprovoked attack at Helensburgh's Centennial Hotel, a pub from which he was barred due to previous acts of violence.

Pubgoers told police they feared at one stage the frenzied attack was not going to stop.

One witness was prompted to jump on Blackwell's back and drag him off the victim, who was then taken to another part of the Centennial Hotel.

Bleeding from the mouth, the disoriented victim asked his mates what had happened.

"Eddie got you," they said.

He was taken home, but his concerned wife immediately drove him to Sutherland Hospital when he started to cough up blood.

X-rays revealed he had multiple fractures to his lower jaw, requiring surgery.

Blackwell was arrested two weeks later.

In court on Friday, Mr Stoddart labelled the 39-year-old "gutless" over the attack and rejected a request from his lawyer to place Blackwell on an intensive correction order. "You're just a vicious person who has too much to drink and then, in this case, attacks someone for no good reason," Mr Stoddart said in handing Blackwell a 15-month jail sentence.

"You were given opportunities [by the court] in the past, and you dealt with some anger issues, but nothing's changed.

"You've only got yourself to blame."

Blackwell will be eligible for release in November next year.