Footballer jailed for "violently" assaulting ref

Published: 1 Nov 2012 17:30

A THUG has been banged up for 12 months for headbutting and repeatedly kicking a football referee in the head in a row over the colour of his top.

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James Barnett, 25, from West Drayton, admitted charges of ABH against the victim - who has not been named - at Reading Crown Court on Friday, October 26.

The assault took place at a six-a-side match at Easthampstead Park School in Ringmead on Monday, July 2.

Prior to the game, Barnett and the victim, a 27-year-old man who was a referee, had a disagreement over the colour of top the victim was wearing and when Barnett became "abusive and aggressive" he was shown the red card.

When the game finished, Barnett approached the referee on the pitch and pushed him in the chest before headbutting him. The victim fell to the floor and Barnett repeatedly kicked in the body and head before being pulled away by other players - including his own team-mates.

The victim was taken to hospital after suffering cuts and bruises to his face and body. He also had to undergo surgery to remove teeth which were left painful following the assault.

Investigating officer PC Ashley Todd, of Bracknell CID, described Barnett as "angry" and that he "took out his frustration by carrying out an unprovoked and reckless assault on the victim" which could have been more serious.

He added that he "welcomes" the sentence which will hopefully it will show how "mindless and violent assaults such as this will not go unpunished" and are "taken very seriously" by police and courts.

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