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12 February 2011, 07:10
A high-flying young City executive who flew into a rage and threw two glasses at pub staff after his credit card was refused was jailed for nine months today.
Stefan Pillinger, 29, left one victim with a permanent head scar while another blacked out after being struck during the obscenity-filled outburst last April.
The banking recruitment firm director was said to be "utterly terrified" at the prospect of going to jail after admitting his crimes.
Pillinger, of Fulham, west London, pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding and actual bodily harm at the Old Bailey.
The court heard he was buying drinks for members of staff at The Banker pub near Cannon Street station in the City of London when his credit card was refused.
Mark Weekes, prosecuting, said: "The defendant became aggressive and abusive, shouting, 'Don't you know how to do it? Get someone who knows what they're doing'.
"The bar manager was called over. She began to process the transaction and the defendant's abuse escalated."
A witness said Pillinger shouted words such as "f***ing c***, twat and Australian", the court heard.
The transaction went through and he was served with two drinks but he returned to the bar in a rage after finding the word "gay" scrawled on the back of the card.
Pillinger became aggressive towards staff and was "asking them to come outside where his friends would smash their faces in".
The businessman's colleagues intervened to try to persuade him to apologise, but he was asked to leave.
He hurled two hexagonal tumblers, striking barman Benjamin McKay and colleague Pavel Sawicki, who briefly blacked out, the court heard.
Mr McKay sustained a deep 3cm (1.2in) laceration to his temple that cut through to his scalp, leaving a scar, and he was said to remain affected by what happened.
Pillinger later tearfully claimed in a police interview that it was he who had been "ill-treated" and manhandled at the pub, the court heard.
He said he had thrown the glasses towards the bar "to cause a distraction so as to escape".
Benn Maguire, defending, said: "This is a young man who is utterly terrified about the possible result today."
The court heard that Pillinger was the part-owner of recruitment firm Eximius Group, whose clients included Bank of America and HSBC.
He had been travelling regularly to Singapore where the company had recently launched a new branch.
Pillinger also found time to be involved in charity work including marathon running to raise money, the court heard.
But Mr Maguire said the global economic downturn was a source of "continuing worry" to him, as he saw other recruitment companies failing.
"He was all too aware that the business was in a fragile state," he added.
Pillinger became tearful during his police interview and previous court hearings, said Mr Maguire.
Since the attack last year he has given up drinking, he added.
Judge Peter Rook said he accepted Pillinger was "full of remorse and shame", that he was a hard-working person who had built up a successful business, and that his actions were "out of character", but he refused to suspend the sentence.
He told the defendant: "You know very well as an intelligent person that throwing glasses at a crowded bar has the potential to cause really serious injury, and it is fortunate indeed that you did not cause more serious injury.
"I accept all the mitigation but I am afraid this case is so serious I cannot avoid an immediate sentence of imprisonment."