Wednesday, 2 Dec 2020

Footballer knocks opponent out during Sunday League match after using false name

A football player who used a fake name to play in a Northamptonshire match has been sentenced for knocking one of his opponents unconscious.

Jamie Burrows, from Bedford, was sentenced on Friday (November 12) at Northampton Magistrates Court for his role in a brawl involving players from both sides.

The fight, which happened at Potterspury Sports and Social club on May 1 last year, saw 26-year-old Burrows punch his victim when his back was turned after the final whistle.

He was ordered to pay £1,000 in compensation to the victim, who needed five stitches and was left with facial scarring, and will complete 120 hours of unpaid work, reports NorthantsLive.

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Sentencing, chief magistrate Mrs Bullock said: "This was a very expensive football game for you.

"If only you thought 'I am playing under a false name' and you walked away, you wouldn't be here today."

The court heard how the offence took place at around 8.30pm after the match.

During the game, Burrows had made a comment towards the victim where he said: "You lot like to whinge, don't you?"

An altercation between the victim and a player from the defendant's team sparked the eventual violence.

Sukhiy Singh, prosecuting, said: "There was some pushing and shoving between the two. After the altercation, the victim said 'calm down' and went to shake hands with the defendant.

“He told him to 'f*** off' and the complainant then laughed and turned in the opposite direction.

“He was punched to the right side of his mouth from behind, causing him to become unconscious and requiring treatment in hospital where he had five stitches.

“The defendant had left the scene and was later identified by Facebook photographs as this suspect.

“He was playing for the team under a false name because the team he was playing for were short for players. No doubt the FA will have taken some action in relation to that."

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The victim said in an impact statement: "I've been physically affected by this incident as I now have a centimetre long scar on the right-hand side of my face just below my mouth.

"Two months following the incident, the scar caused me to feel annoyed. Anytime I looked at it as they reminded me of what happened.

“My wife and I went on holiday two weeks after the incident and I was not comfortable at all because, in all the photographs taken, I was hiding the stitches in my face

"The biggest impact was the effect it had on my two young children as I had to answer their questions regarding the stitches and how the injury had been caused.

“I am grateful that, on this occasion, my young children did not attend the game because they would usually spectate.

"I was forced to lie to my children, who will not be able to comprehend that this incident was a one-off.

“I was worried that whenever I went to play football, I did not want them to associate my hobby with being injured in this way."

The victim, who works as a consultant, said he had to "explain to government clients" that he was involved in a police matter.

The court also heard the defendant was a man of "good character" and that he felt "awful" over the incident.

Burrows, who has no previous convictions, also said he "wanted to pay" compensation to the victim.

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Mr Singh added: “I do sympathise with this complainant because it's a big thing to play in a professional stadium. I myself have been in that situation and it's a great feeling.

“He lost out on that opportunity. The defendant told the police that he didn't know the victim and that it was just a normal football game

“After the game, he said someone had confronted one of his players and a big brawl occurred.

“He said he punched somebody but didn't know who it was.

“He confirmed that he was playing as the number five central midfielder and had no issues with the victim during the game.

“However, during the incident, he said the complainant threw a punch at him and missed so he threw one back.

“When he was shown the images of the injuries, the words he used were 'oh s***,' and he felt awful.

“He had no intention to hurt the victim. He did see the victim hit the ground and he said that everybody else around continued fighting for about three to five minutes.

“At this point, he left to go to the changing rooms where he told another player how bad he felt.

“He denied running away from the scene or speeding off in his van, but he said the reason why he left was that he felt threatened.

“When he was questioned regarding his intent, he said that he was just trying to protect himself from everyone that got involved in the fight."

Mr Shoker, defending, said this fight was sad for "the victim but also the defendant" and Burrows was living a "productive life" leading up to the incident.

Burrows was also ordered to pay £170 in court costs and a victim surcharge as part of the sentence.

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