Dad jailed after lashing out at football match opponent, leaving him unconscious
A PINEHURST dad has left teammates ‘distraught and shocked’ after punching an opponent during a football game, leaving the victim with facial injuries that required multiple surgeries.
Beech Avenue’s Ryan Welland has been cautioned for criticizing the referee during the first half of the “irritable and competitive” football game on Saturday January 29 at the Penhill Recreation Ground.
Tensions escalated in the second half of his side Nine Elms’ game against Nalgo Sports Club in the Swindon and District Football League when the victim, Nalgo’s George Bouverie-Brine, told Welland “angry” and “aggressive” to leave the referee alone.
Welland then hit the 28-year-old, knocking him down on the pitch for several minutes. He suffered a seizure and underwent surgery after suffering multiple facial fractures, but still struggles to breathe through his nose.
He will need further surgery or have to live with a significant facial deformity, Swindon Crown Court heard on Thursday March 31. Judge Jason Taylor QC remarked that the consequences of Welland’s punch were “far greater than [Welland] could have foreseen”.
Prosecutor Mark Ashley read the victim’s personal statement which revealed the effects of the attack extended beyond the physical injuries.
Financially, Mr Bouverie-Brine lost more than £4,000 taking unpaid leave to recover from surgery and had to travel to Oxford regularly for consultations.
“He describes himself as suffering from depression and anxiety like he has never experienced and as a result of this incident he is in a very dark place,” Mr Ashley said.
“He was affected by the way his son looks at him and the way he looks at his face.
“He lost his passion for football and he’s not sure if he’ll ever play again.
“He wants Mr Welland to understand the gravity of the situation he faces and the devastation this stupid and unnecessary punch has caused.”
The defendant’s lawyer, Emma Handslip, assured the court that Welland “bitterly regrets” his actions, citing how he surrendered to police.
“He is devastated. It was a split-second moment in time. He understands that it is serious and that he must be punished. It was in the heat of the moment. »
As an avid footballer who got his leg jammed after an injury, Welland understands how football helps someone’s mental health.
Judge Taylor acknowledged that he was “genuinely remorseful”.
By way of mitigation, Ms Handslip spoke of the disruption a prison sentence would have on the 29-year-old’s family, as Welland has a young child and is caring for his mother.
But Judge Taylor addressed Welland, who appeared via video link from Guys Marsh Jail, saying: ‘The reality is I can only pass on immediate custody sent today.
“You are the author of your own misfortune.
“I consider the severity of the injuries as well as the impact they caused and your prior convictions and license bring this right to the top of the range.”
Welland, of Beech Avenue in Pinehurst, was sentenced to 14 months in prison, after pleading guilty to grievous bodily harm.
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