Colchester rugby player fractured Thorpness opponent’s jaw, eye socket and cheekbone during game

Ipswich Crown Court

Ipswich Crown Court

A Colchester rugby player who punched an opponent in the face causing fractures to his jaw, eye socket and cheekbone during a league game has walked free from court after being given a suspended prison sentence.

Adam Randle ran 25 yards up the pitch and punched Thorpeness player Jonathan Taylor once on the right side of the face causing him to lose consciousness and fall to the ground, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Mr Taylor was taken to hospital where he was found to have fractures to his jaw, cheekbone and eye socket and subsequently underwent surgery, said Marc Brown, prosecuting.

Randle, 29, who was living in Samson’s Road, Brightlingsea, admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm on Mr Taylor on October 25 last year.

Recorder Ian Evans said although the offence crossed the custody threshold he would suspend the sentence so that Randle, a former soldier who had suffered from post traumatic stress disorder after serving in Afghanistan, could get help for his issues.

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He sentenced him to a 12-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months and ordered him to attend a Thinking Skills programme.

He also ordered him to do 200 hours unpaid work in the community and to pay £2,000 compensation to Mr Taylor and £750 costs.

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Sentencing Randle, Mr Evans said although the defendant claimed the rugby game had been aggressive he seemed to be the only person who had formed that impression.

He said it had been suggested that Randle was seeking to defend a team mate and that post traumatic stress disorder he had suffered since serving in the army in Afghanistan “triggered” him to react quickly to problems.”

“It’s not a trigger mechanism to run 25 yards to punch somebody. If you had been the player on the floor involved in a skirmish that would make sense. This was a deliberate criminal act. Post traumatic stress disorder had nothing to do with what occurred that day,” said the judge.

The incident took place during the first half of a league match between Colchester 3rd XV and Thorpeness at Thorpeness.

Paul Barlex, for Randle, said his client had not played rugby since the incident and had been banned by his club. He said Randle “bitterly regretted” his involvement in the incident, which he claimed happened after Randle saw one of his team mates being pinned down and feared he was going to be kicked in the head.

“He realises now the punch was beyond defence of another in the circumstances,” said Mr Barlex.

He said Randle, a father-of-two, was due to have counselling for post traumatic stress disorder which had affected his entire life since leaving the army.

“He saw many serious incidents and injuries and very close friends have been killed,” said Mr Barlex.

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