Footballer Josh Payne whipped man with beltBy Nick Edmondson
December 21, 2012
AN Aldershot Town midfielder has been sacked by his football club and will spend his daughter’s first Christmas in prison after thrashing a man with a belt in a drunken brawl.
Josh Payne, 22, was handed a 12-month sentence at Guildford Crown Court last Friday (December 14) for charges of actual bodily harm and common assault.
The court heard how Payne, of East Hundreds, Fleet, and his friend Stephen Bloomfield, 26, attacked two men outside Dusk nightclub, in Guildford, on May 7 following an argument inside the venue.
The pair pounced on Connor Somerville and Jack Scarlett outside the North Street club at around 3am, with Payne punching Mr Scarlett in the back of the head. He then pulled off his belt and began whipping the men with the buckle.
Mr Somerville attempted to escape but tripped and was caught by the pair at the junction of Haydon Place. He curled into a ball while Payne repeatedly flogged him with his belt, leaving him with a number of red welts in the shape of the metal buckle, while Bloomfield kicked him in the head.
Payne pleaded guilty to the charges at Guildford Magistrates’ Court on October 25, while Bloomfield, of Tennyson Way, Basingstoke, admitted a charge of actual bodily harm at the crown court on November 30.
CCTV footage was played during the sentencing showing the pair chasing and attacking Mr Somerville, though Bloomfield was also seen trying to restrain Payne.
Glenn Harrison, defending Payne, said his client only used his belt as a weapon because he thought Mr Somerville was about to do the same.
He said: “He can’t even look at the CCTV. He has genuine remorse and regret that he can’t turn back the clock.”
Mr Harrison said Payne’s daughter would be celebrating her first birthday on the weekend after sentencing and the idea of prison "filled him with terror". He asked the court to suspend a jail sentence so Payne could continue with his football career.
Andrew Horsell, for Bloomfield, said the self-employed painter and decorator was a man of good character who had not been out of work since leaving school.
Judge Christopher Critchlow said: “I have no doubt that this was totally out of character for both of you. I can see you are feeling genuine remorse and I am quite sure you probably can’t believe what you did.
“However, this was a sustained and violent assault on a person, with a weapon, and I must sentence in that regard.”
Payne was given a 12-month prison sentence for ABH and a four-month sentence, to run concurrently, for common assault.
Bloomfield, who broke down in tears as Payne was led away, received a four-month sentence, suspended for a year. He must also do 120 hours of unpaid work and pay Mr Somerville £250 compensation.
Payne joined the Shots on loan from Oxford United in January and scored three goals in 22 appearances. Three days after the sentencing, Aldershot Town FC released a statement confirming his contract had been terminated.
It read: “The club cannot condone or excuse such behaviour.”