Man broke delivery driver’s jaw in row over pizza

Man delivery pizza to customer

A delivery driver was left with extensive facial injuries after being attacked in a dispute over payment for a £11.90 pizza - Credit: Getty Images

A man who attacked a Norwich delivery driver in a row over paying for a takeaway pizza has been given a suspended jail sentence.

The “appalling assault” saw an enraged Joao Cruz grab the driver by the throat and punch him, breaking his jaw, dislodging his teeth and causing injuries that required extensive surgery. 

His jaw had to be wired back together leaving him unable to eat or speak properly while the attack had also had lasting psychological damage, Norwich Crown Crown was told. 

Prosecutors said the incident in November 2020 had left the driver, a father-of-four, unable to work for a prolonged period resulting in financial problems and had “traumatised his whole family”.

The court was told he was attacked after Cruz ordered a takeaway meal online from Kings Pizza on Mile Cross Lane.  

An altercation over his refusal to pay saw the delivery man attacked when he said he would have to call his manager. 

Cruz, 30, was found guilty of unlawful and malicious wounding on April 7 at Norwich Magistrates Court after claims that he had acted in self-defence were dismissed. 

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Appearing at Norwich Crown Court to be sentenced on Monday (June 13) his legal representative said the incident had been “an impulsive, spontaneous and short-lived assault”. 

But sentencing him to 10 months imprisonment suspended for 18 months, Recorder Laurence Harris said he had assaulted “an innocent man doing his duty delivering food to members of the public”. 

“That someone should be subjected to this appalling assault over whether £11.90 had to be paid or not is a quite shocking thing,” he added.

“It is quite clear that your assault has had profound and long-term consequences.

"He could not eat for eight weeks and lost a considerable amount of weight as a result. 

“He had very substantial pain as a result of your assault and the subsequent surgery and steps that had to be taken to repair his jaw and teeth.” 

Cruz, an agency worker who lives with his mother on Prince of Wales Road, was also ordered to pay his victim £2,600 in compensation and carry out 200 hours unpaid work. 

He was also made the subject of a restraining order banning him from contacting his victim or Kings Pizza.