Punch lands man in court

ONE drunken punch has meant 100 hours of community service for a 22-year-old dad.Mark Gilders threw the first punch in a viscous fight where he and four of his former friends attacked one man in Cardinal Park, Ipswich.

ONE drunken punch has meant 100 hours of community service for a 22-year-old father.

Mark Gilders threw the first punch in a vicious fight where he and four of his former friends attacked one man in Cardinal Park, Ipswich.

The father of an eight-month-old baby was also put on an offender's behavioural programme for the charge of affray.

He escaped a custodial sentence as he had been so repulsed by the beating that he told the police who the other four attackers were.


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Gilders, of New Street, Brightlingsea, was involved in the fight which left the victim badly injured at 3am on September 23 last year, but he was only approached by the police in April this year.

He was convicted on July 26 and appeared at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court on Thursday to be sentenced.

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Margaret Cutts, prosecuting, said: "The aggrieved was talking to five young men sitting in a Fiesta car.

"He banged on the car with his fist and then a fight began. He [Gilders] punched the aggrieved with his right fist, in which he had a beer tin. The victim was then assaulted by the other people – he was badly injured."

The unnamed victim did not want the police to press charges for the assault but Gilders was charged with affray.

In mitigation the court was told Gilders had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and had been co-operative with the police.

He has not socialised with the four attackers since the fight and no longer goes out to drink up to seven pints with friends at a pub or nightclub as he did on the night of the attack.

Gilders' solicitor said the self-employed roofing contractor had become a changed man since his child was born eight months ago.

The court was told that Gilders felt remorseful and that he had taken the risk of implicating others by informing the police of the other attackers' names. The victim was also said to have provoked his attackers and that he had fought back against the gang of five.

Gilders, who had pleaded guilty to affray, has previous convictions of affray when he was 16, when he was sent to a young offenders' institute, dishonesty in 1997 and common assault in June last year.

But Gilders' solicitor said in mitigation: "Can you give this man a final chance to prove himself and address what he described as an anger problem.

"The implications of custody for this man and his family would be catastrophic."

The magistrates ordered Gilders to carry out a 100 hours of community service and to be put on an 18 month rehabilitation course. He was ordered to pay £55 court costs.

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