Punches to the face in Rugby nightclub left victim with permanent injuries and disfigurement, and pain throughout his life

A man who waded in when a friend became involved in a scuffle in a Rugby night club, felling the other man with a blow which broke his jaw, has been jailed.

Friday, 13th December 2019, 12:02 pm
Updated Friday, 13th December 2019, 12:02 pm

Benjamin Farrell pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to inflicting grievous bodily harm, while Jack Woolliscroft, who was involved in the initial scuffle, admitted a charge of affray.

Farrell (19) of Craven Road, Rugby, was jailed for 18 months, but Woolliscroft (20) of Cold Ashby Road, West Haddon, was ordered to do 180 hours of unpaid work under a 12-month community sentence.

Prosecutor Graeme Simpson said that in March Farrell and Woolliscroft had been drinking and were in Zinc night club in Rugby when people bumped into each-other.

Benjamin Farrell pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to inflicting grievous bodily harm, while Jack Woolliscroft, who was involved in the initial scuffle, admitted a charge of affray.

Security staff tried to keep the two factions apart, but Woolliscroft got past, and there was some pushing and shoving between him and another man.

Farrell was then captured by a CCTV camera breaking past security staff who were trying to hold him back and punching his victim hard to the face twice from the side, knocking him to the floor.

Mr Simpson said that as a result the victim spent 48 hours in hospital, during which he underwent an operation to have bolts and plates inserted in his jaw to repair the damage.

When they were arrested Woolliscroft admitted he had been involved in pushing the man on the dance floor, but denied punching him – so had ‘admitted what he did,’ said Mr Simpson.

Farrell did not answer questions, but gave a prepared statement in which he claimed he had acted ‘only in defence of his co-defendant.’

Lewis Perry, for Farrell, said he was of previous good character, and had references from his employer and from his rugby club.

“He is in all other respects a hard-working young man who has kept out of trouble until this event. He goes round the back and punches the unfortunate victim to the head.

“Of course, drink was involved, as it often is on these occasions. He has expressed some remorse for his actions in the pre-sentence report.

“He has a lot to lose if he receives a custodial sentence today. I would ask you to give this young man a second chance so he doesn’t lose his employment and can get on with his life and put this behind him,” urged Mr Perry.

But Judge Sylvia de Bertodano commented: “Somebody has been very badly injured as a result of what he did, suffering permanent injuries and disfigurement, and will be in pain throughout his life.”

Martin Groves, for Woolliscroft, said: “He was having a good time up until an incident when he accidentally barged into the victim and one of his friends. That’s what started it.

“He tried to apologise, but that was not acceptable. He accepts he went back and got into a shoving match with the victim, and at that point Mr Farrell steps in and punches the victim.

“He deeply regrets being involved in this incident,” said Mr Groves, who added that Woolliscroft was at university, and helped out on his family’s farm at weekends.

Sentencing the two, Judge de Bertodano told Farrell: “He had really serious injuries, which is an indication of just how powerful that punch was.

“He still has numbness in his face, and he is likely to suffer some sort of pain permanently.

“This is a case where it must be immediate custody. The message must go out that if young men go out at night and drink too much and cause other young men permanent injuries, they must go to prison.”

But she told Woolliscroft: “You have probably gathered I am going to deal with you differently.

“While you were clearly wrong in getting involved in the pushing, you were not involved in the assault which caused those injuries to Mr Medcraft.”