DCSIMG

Goalkeeper headbutts opposing captain in Brighouse derby match

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A goalkeeper has been given a suspended prison sentence after he headbutted the opposing captain during a derby match in Brighouse.

Frank Cullen, 27, suffered three breaks to his left cheekbone and hairline fractures to his left eye socket and lower jaw during the attack which happened during a match last April between his side Rastrick Bowling Club and local rivals Top Club Rastrick.

Bradford Crown Court heard that Mr Cullen had to have a metal plate put in his face, but he had subsequently suffered infections and was still undergoing treatment a year on.

In a victim impact statement he described how he had been unable to play football for three months as a result of the attack by 22-year-old Joshua Porter.

“It has affected my family,” said Mr Cullen.

“We thought this was behind us but it keeps coming back to haunt us.”

The attack took place about half-an-hour into the early evening match on April 9 after Mr Cullen had become involved with another player.

Prosecutor Paul Nicholson said there was a heated discussion and some pushing and shoving, but witnesses said it was nothing beyond what you would expect in a normal game of football.

He said Porter then made his way out of goal and headbutted Mr Cullen causing him to fall to the ground.

Porter, of Crowtrees Crescent, Rastrick, pleaded guilty to a charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm and the court heard that the day after the incident at the Lane Head pitch in Brighouse he sent a text to the complainant apologising for what happened.

His barrister Jayne Beckett said Porter was a hard-working young man who desperately wanted to keep his liberty.

“I know that he would want me to say in open court that he is very, very sorry,” she added.

Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC said it was accepted that there was rivalry in football matches, but what Porter had done was ‘’off the scale’’.

“This wasn’t the give and take of a football match,” he told Porter.

“This was pure, criminal behaviour and for the goalkeeper to go half the pitch and nut the opposing captain is off the scale and unacceptable.”

The judge said he was tempted to lock Porter up for eight or nine months, but he would have been out after about six weeks and may have lost his job.

Judge Durham Hall said in that situation he wouldn’t have been able to order Porter to pay compensation or get help with his anger management.

Porter was told that his eight-month jail term would be suspended for a year and the judge said he would also have to do 120 hours unpaid work for the community.

The defendant will also have to pay his victim £750 as ‘’token’’ compensation for his injuries, but the judge pointed out that he could still be sued for more.

“This isn’t, I repeat, a rough tackle or anything like that. This was deliberate, bad-tempered aggression,” said Judge Durham Hall.

“I look forward to not reading about any more trouble between Rastrick Bowling Club and Top Club Rastrick. You bring an excellent village into disrepute,” he told Porter.

 
 
 

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