Trophy 'joke' ends in assault

WHEN members of a cup winning pub football team filled their trophy with beer and offered it to their opponents, none of them thought twice before passing it around.

WHEN members of a cup winning pub football team filled their trophy with beer and offered it to their opponents, none of them thought twice before passing it around.

However, members of The Bull football team, from Haverhill, were horrified when they realised they had been the victims of what was described yesterday as an unpleasant practical joke.

For after drinking from the trophy they discovered that a member of the winning Woolpack pub team, also from Haverhill, had defecated in the trophy.

Pictures had been taken on a mobile telephone before the trophy was cleaned up "to a lesser or greater extent" and filled with beer which was offered to The Bull players, said Robert Sadd prosecuting.

Before Ipswich Crown Court yesterday was Danny Symonds, a member of The Bull team, who took offence at what had happened and punched Woolpack player Roger Dourado in the face, fracturing his cheekbone.

Symonds, 22, of Beaumonts Vale, Haverhill, pleaded guilty to assaulting Mr Dourado causing him actual bodily harm last April.

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Judge Alastair Darroch decided not to send him to prison after hearing that he had apologised to Mr Dourado who has accepted the apology and agreed to draw a line under the incident.

Fining Symonds £1,000 and ordering him to pay £700 prosecution costs, the Judge accepted there had been some provocation.

He said the background to the incident was "thoroughly unpleasant and childish behaviour."

He said that Symonds, who was in work and has no previous convictions, had shown he was sorry and he and Mr Dourado had put their differences behind them.

"In all the circumstances I feel that I can avoid sending you to prison which is the normal sentence for breaking someone's cheekbone," said the Judge.

Mr Sadd told the court that after the cup match players from both teams had gone to the Woolpack.

During the festivities a member of the Woolpack team – not Mr Dourado – had defecated in the trophy and taken pictures with a mobile phone. After attempts had been made to clean the trophy it was filled with beer and members of the Bull team were invited to drink out of it. "It was done as a practical joke but it is difficult to see the funny side of it", said Mr Sadd.

The Bull players became aware of what had happened and as Mr Dourado walked home later that evening he was punched in the face by Symonds.

The following day Mr Dourado went to hospital where the fractured cheekbone was diagnosed and he later underwent surgery.

He later got an infection in his cheek and spent a total of six weeks off work.

He had now recovered from the injury apart from an area of numbness on his face said Mr Sadd.

He said the two men had played football against each other since the incident.

John Morgans, for Symonds, said that everyone involved in the incident had now moved on.

He said Mr Dourado had not sought any compensation for his injury. However, Symonds had saved up £1,500 to be used as the court saw fit.

He said that although what happened to the trophy was meant as a joke none of what happened later would have occurred if it had not been for the earlier event.

His client had acted out of character and felt genuine remorse, he added.

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