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Soccer player at risk of jail sentence over injury to Box player
12:00pm Friday 20th July 2012 in Corsham
A footballer who left an opponent with a double break to the jaw has been warned he could be jailed.
Lee Walters lashed out at the Box Rovers player during the goal mouth incident as he played for away side Lower Stratton, based in Swindon.
The 41-year-old was in his own penalty area tussling with home player James Lye when he smashed him in the face, landing him in hospital.
Walters had pulled at his opponent’s shirt in the lead up to the assault at Box Recreation Ground on Saturday January 14.
Mr Lye shrugged him off, and in doing so his elbow made contact with Walters’ face leading him to retaliate, landing the crunching blow.
Although Mr Lye continued to play for a couple of minutes but he had to leave the field soon after during his side’s 6-1 win in division one of the Wiltshire League.
He later went to hospital where he was detained for three days as he received treatment for the double break to the jaw which required the insertion of three metal plates.
Walters, of Crawley Avenue, Lower Stratton, Swindon, pleaded guilty to a charge of grievous bodily harm.
He entered the plea after asking a judge what the maximum sentence would be if he were to admit the assault.
Judge Douglas Field said the injury Mr Lye sustained was a serious one and that on a guilty plea he could receive up to eight months in custody.
Rob Ross, defending, said the assault took place during the match and was not an ‘off the ball incident’.
“In a defensive mode he took the shirt of Mr Lye. Mr Lye, as you see on TV day in day out, went to shrug him off and elbowed Mr Walters in the face, “ he said.
“He instinctively struck out and hit him, and in hitting him caused the injury Mr Lye suffered. A break on the jaw.”
Mr Ross said as a result of the incident the Football Association had suspended his client from playing for 20 days.
He told the court it was the sort of case that some juries would quickly acquit believing it a football matter while others may think ‘football should be a non-contact sport’.
Susan Cavender, prosecuting, said the injury resulted in Mr Lye being in hospital for three days and having two plates inserted in the left side of the jaw and one in the right.
The judge adjourned the case to Friday August 10 to allow the probation service time to compile a pre-sentence report and released him on bail until then.