Footballer kicked man in head in case of mistaken identity

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A KEEN footballer kicked a man in the head who he wrongly believed had assaulted his cousin.

Warren French launched his attack after overhearing a chance remark, Durham Crown Court heard.

“The two parties were in Shotton Comrades’ Club last New Year’s Eve,” said Martin Towers, prosecuting. “French approached his victim who denied doing anything wrong.

“French threw punches to the head and body of his victim, who tried to withdraw from the situation.

“But he was knocked to the floor, and at least one other man joined in the attack.

“The victim suffered cuts, bruises, and a suspected fracture to his nose.”

French, 19, of Snowden Place, Peterlee, admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm on December 31, last year.

He has five previous convictions for offences of violence, including an attack on his father.

Christopher Rose, defending, said in mitigation: “Mr French knows he needs to grow up, and that settling disputes with his fists unacceptable.

“One of the more positive things in his life is football. He plays for Peterlee on a Saturday, a pub team on a Sunday, and his own five-a-side team during the week.

“He tells me one of the reasons he plays so much is it helps keep him out of trouble.”

Judge Les Spittle jailed French for 12 months,

The judge told him: “You had no good reason to believe your victim had done anything wrong, yet you still attacked him.

“He walked away, but you continued the attack with more blows to the head and body, and kicks to the head once your victim had been put to the ground,

“Kicking in the head is tantamount to using a weapon.

“In the past, the courts have bent over backwards to help you by the imposition of various community penalties,

“But there is a pattern of violent behaviour developing here which needs to be stopped.”

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