Five-a-side footballer broke player's jaw in Leeds punch attack

The incident happened in a five-a-side football match in Leeds
The incident happened in a five-a-side football match in Leeds
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A five-a-side footballer on a team called Unfit FC punched an opposition player in the face and broke his jaw during a match in Leeds, a court heard.

Unfit FC player Connor Charlton, 25, launched the attack on XXX Rita team player Adam Finch during a five-a-side match at Goals football centre near Kirkstall Road, Leeds Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor, David Ward said Charlton, of Millfield Place, Wakefield, had grabbed Mr Finch round the neck when the two men were on the ground following a tackle .

Mr Ward said another XXX Rita player punched Charlton, who released his grip on Mr Finch.

Mr Ward said Charlton was angry and got up and punched Mr Finch in the face, breaking his jaw during the incident on October 22 2017.

Charlton claimed he had acted in self defence and denied assault causing actual bodily harm, but he was convicted by a Leeds Crown Court jury after a trial.

Judge Mushtaq Khokhar QC handed Charlton and eight month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months.

Charlton, who has one previous conviction for affray, must do 200 hours unpaid work and pay £800 compensation to Mr Finch.

A probation officer who interviewed Charlton told the court: “He accepted responsibility for his behaviour and showed genuine remorse.

“He said he has played football since he was five-years-old and continues to do so three times a week.”

Mitigating, Michael Collins, said: "Something happened in that game that caused home to lose his temper.

“It may be that having been struck hard to the face on two occasions by somebody else that made him more angry than he should have allowed himself to become.

"The consequence was a single blow. Unfortunately for Mr Finch and this defendant, it had significant consequences to Mr Finch’s jaw.

"That was not intended but he must accept responsibility for the strike.”

Sentencing Charlton, Judge Khokar told him: “You had a headlock on him, he was being strangled.

“It is not surprising that a colleague from his team came to the rescue to the extent that he punched you in the face.

“It did have the desired effect, causing you to release your grip on his throat.

“You didn’t know who had struck you. As you were getting up you were shouting out who it was who had struck you.

“You punched the complainant, who was considerably smaller than you.

"It was one punch that caused him to have a fractured jaw."

James Thompson, spokesman for Goals football centre, said after the case: "Goals has strict and robust disciplinary procedures in place, for both teams and individuals, which are consistently applied in cases such as this.

"We work alongside the national and county Football Association (FA) and carry FA accreditation in support of our policies. The health, safety and wellbeing of our customers is of paramount importance to ensure that everyone enjoys their time with us.

"Goals will continue to welcome players, visitors and community groups in a safe and supported environment."