Ipswich: Teenage football thug avoids jail after breaking opponent’s jaw

A THUGGISH teenage footballer has escaped custody after admitting inflicting horrific injuries on an opponent.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, attacked Ben Grogan during an Ipswich football tournament, smashing his jaw in two places.

Violence erupted at the Goals Soccer Centre in Grimwade Street after Mr Grogan mistimed a tackle on the teenager.

Mr Grogan tapped the youth on the back of the head in what was described as an apologetic gesture but this enraged the teenager, who swung round and jumped up to land a blow on his jaw.

Mr Grogan played on and it was not until after the game – when he felt a displaced tooth and swelling to one side of his face – that he realised the extent of his injuries.

Doctors later told him his jaw had been broken in two places and he had an operation to insert a metal wire to hold the bone together.

The teenager, appearing at Ipswich Youth Court, was given a 12-month referral order and told to pay Mr Grogan �250 in compensation after admitting a charge of grievous bodily harm.

Most Read

The youngster, dressed in grey trousers and a white shirt and flanked by his mum and older sister, said: “I feel really bad, I did not mean to hurt him.”

Magistrate Anthony Baker said the teenager’s age and the fact he had no previous convictions had persuaded the bench not to put him into custody.

He added: “This is a very serious matter, life is all about choice. You chose to hit that man and you must face the responsibility for that.

“If he had been any older custody would have been in our mind.

“But as he’s a youth with no previous convictions we’re prepared to go with the recommendations in the pre-sentence report.”

Mark Holt, mitigating, said his client was doing well at college and that he had a number of references speaking in praise of him.

He added: “He feels genuinely remorseful for the matter and he could not have anticipated causing such damage to the other player.”

n Have you been a victim of crime? Call the newsdesk on 01473 324790.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter