Footballer cleared of assault during Sunday league game in Felixstowe

Langley Avenue Sports Field in Felixstowe

Joshua Cook has been cleared of assault - Credit: Google Maps

A Sunday league footballer has spoken of his relief after being cleared of assaulting another player during a game by a jury. 

Joshua Cook, of Goldsmith Road, Ipswich, was accused of assault occasioning actual bodily harm in a match between Ipswich Sunday Football League sides The Feathers FC and Greshams FC. 

The alleged incident, which happened on Sunday, September 24, 2017 at Langley Avenue Sports Field in Felixstowe, saw Greshams FC player Neil Potter lose a tooth. 

The jury were told by prosecutor Nicola May that the alleged assault was a deliberate "smash to the face" with a swinging elbow when the ball had moved on. 

But Mr Cook, 30, denied making deliberate or unlawful contact with Mr Potter, and a jury found him not guilty at Ipswich Crown Court. 

Speaking after his acquittal outside court, Mr Cook said: "I'm very relieved. I've played football for my whole entire life and I'm not a violent person.

"I'm not an aggressive person. On a football pitch, I am an aggressive player - not in a violent or criminal sense but in a wanting to win sense. There are many injuries that happen on any sporting field. 

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"I'm just happy to be found not guilty. The whole thing took my passion away from playing football but hopefully I can go back and enjoy it now."

Mr Cook added that he was now playing his Sunday football for Portman Rovers. 

During the four-day trial, the jury heard how Mr Cook had come on as a substitute for Felixstowe-based side The Feathers with around 25 minutes to go. 

Mr Cook had scored a goal for his team, who ran out winners in the game 4-2. 

The alleged assault took place in the 89th minute, and Mr Cook was initially shown a yellow card before being sent off by the referee. 

Giving evidence during the trial, Feathers FC player Kieron Jones said he had taken Mr Cook over to apologise at the end of the game but the pair were told to go away by the opposition. 

The jury, of 10 men and two women took just one hour and 23 minutes to return its verdict on Friday. 

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