‘BAD blood’ between cousins led to an attack with what may have been a knuckle duster, leaving a deep gash on the victim's face.

Jake Haynes admitted grievous bodily harm after he punched his cousin, Ben Butler, 'five or six times' while his victim sat in his car at his home near Worcester. The blows opened up a long, deep gash in his cheek during what the judge called a 'cowardly attack'.

Haynes, aged 26, of Lower Croft, Cropthorne, Pershore appeared at Worcester Crown Court on Friday following the assault on November 17 last year which has left the victim with a scar.

The defendant’s solicitor, Sam Lamsdale, disputed that any weapon had been used in the attack after the 28-year-old victim said he had been struck by a hard object, possibly a knuckle duster.

However, the judge said the nature of the injury was such that Haynes must have used an object to strike his cousin and declined the solicitor’s request for a Newton hearing or ‘trial of the facts’ which can be ordered when there is a wide enough discrepancy between the prosecution and defence accounts.

Paul Fairley, prosecuting, said: “There seems to have been a little bit of bad blood between the two of them.”

Mr Butler had been leaving his home in Littleworth, near Worcester with his partner and was in his car having a cigarette before starting his journey when he heard a knocking on the driver’s side window.

Haynes said words to the effect of ‘I’ve got you now!’ before punching Mr Butler in the face. “Mr Butler described feeling extreme pain. The punch was so hard he felt he had been hit by something other than a fist, either a knuckle duster or something in the defendant’s hands,” the prosecutor told the court.

Five or six punches were delivered before the complainant was able to drive off.

He suffered what Mr Fairley described as ‘a nasty laceration’ to the right cheek. Photos of the injury were shown to the judge. Although the wound healed the victim will be left with a scar.

In a victim impact statement Mr Butler said he had lost earnings as a result of having to have time off work and also described himself as ‘fearful of the defendant turning up at his address’.

He had also suffered associated embarrassment because of people asking him about the injury.

The defendant was of previous good character. He gave a no comment interview to police but admitted the offence at the earliest opportunity.

Sam Lamsdale, defending, said the bad feeling was down to perceived injustices in the treatment of the defendant’s grandmother against a background of numerous incidents of threats and abuse between the parties.

“The defendant and his family have reported at least 10 incidents to the police” said Mrs Lamsdale.

She said it was not accepted by her client that a weapon was used and added that Haynes did not wear rings.

However, the judge said: "I simply don't believe that."

Her client, who works for a construction company, accepted he was ‘angry’ and opened the car door, punching Mr Butler several times.

Judge Martin Jackson declined the defence’s application to adjourn the case for a Newton hearing, saying he was satisfied that Haynes had something in his hand which caused the injury but ‘whether it was a knuckle duster or a bunch of keys I can’t say’.

He said: “Jack Haynes – I have to sentence you for a cowardly attack upon your cousin.”

Having viewed the photo, he described the wound as ‘wide and deep’ and it had also left Mr Butler with a closed eye because of swelling and bruising.

The judge sentenced Haynes to two years in prison suspended for two years, ordered him to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £1,500 in compensation to the victim.

Haynes was further ordered to pay costs of £425 and a victim surcharge of £149.