Rugby Lions player cleared of breaking opponent's jaw

Ben Husthwaite.
Ben Husthwaite.

A rugby-playing former world clay pigeon shooting champion had been cleared of breaking an opponent’s jaw in an off-the-ball incident during a match.

Rugby Lions number 8 Ben Husthwaite had pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to inflicting grievous bodily harm on Shipston on Stour RFC player Alex Watton.

The charge follows an incident during a one-sided game between the two teams at Shipston’s Mayo Road ground on February 20 last year – which Lions won 55-3.

Husthwaite, who has also captained Rugby Lions, was alleged to have gone over to Watton, Shipston’s tight-head prop, and punched him in an off-the-ball incident, breaking his jaw.

But at the end of a five-day trial a jury at Coventry Crown Court, found Husthwaite (39) of Burrows Close, Narborough, Leicestershire, not guilty.

Although a keen rugby player, Husthwaite is best known as an international clay pigeon marksman – making his name in the ‘sporting’ discipline of the sport.

His international successes began with becoming World Junior Sporting champion and FITASC (Federation Internationale du Tir aux Armes Sportives de Chasse) world champion in 1998.

He has held a number of World, European and British titles in more recent years, including being World Sportrap Champion in 2008, World Sporting Champion in 2010 and World FITASC runner-up in 2010 and 2012.