Inter-service fracas leads to court

A SUFFOLK-based soldier is paying off a fine today after holding his hands up to a charge of disorderly behaviour on a drunken night out in Ipswich.Richard Bennett, who serves with the Royal Engineers in Woodbridge, was arrested outside a nightclub after refusing to back away from a fracas with servicemen from the RAF.

A SUFFOLK-based soldier is paying off a fine today after holding his hands up to a charge of disorderly behaviour on a drunken night out in Ipswich.

Richard Bennett, who serves with the Royal Engineers in Woodbridge, was arrested outside a nightclub after refusing to back away from a fracas with servicemen from the RAF.

The 21-year-old is also due to face charges over a separate incident outside Club Fire in Ipswich in which he is said to have sexually assaulted and attacked a group of women.

Bennett has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault, causing actual bodily harm, and two counts of assault by beating during the alleged attack on January 29.

But he has pleaded guilty to disorderly behaviour outside Liquid in Cardinal Park on June 5.

He was with colleagues from the 23 Engineer Regiment when they became involved in a fracas with servicemen from RAF Honington.

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Police were called to break up the dispute at around 1.30am on June 5, but the 21-year-old refused to back down, magistrates were told.

Prosecutor Shini Cooksley said: “Mr Bennett was told to join his colleagues and not keep walking towards the other group.

“The officer had to pull him away from another male and ask him to leave the area.”

Bennett, who serves with the 23 Engineer Regiment at Rock Barracks in Woodbridge, was later arrested after persistently swearing at the officer and refusing to move on.

At South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court on Monday, Bennett also accepted that it also landed him in breach of a conditional discharge for previously being disorderly.

Bennett's solicitor, Elizabeth Bradshaw, said doctors were looking into whether her client was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder since returning from active service in Afghanistan.

She added: “He is a valued member of the army and his conduct in that area in exemplary.”

Bennett, who is from Bradford, was fined �100 for breaching his conditional discharge and �150 for the disorderly behaviour.

He was also ordered to pay costs of �60 and a �15 victim surcharge.

Bennett is to return to court on August 24, when his outstanding charges will be committed for trial at Ipswich Crown Court.

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