Soldier injured in street attack

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AN attacker who hit a junior soldier before others then set about him has walked free from court.

Mark Schofield had punched Leon Aston once in the violence in Colne. The victim had been on weekend leave from Harrogate Army Training College, had come home to Pendle and was “ very drunk,” Burnley Crown Court heard.

Schofield, who has 29 previous convictions, admitted assault causing actual bodily harm on March 19th last year. The defendant (32), of Clayton Street, Colne, was given a 12-month community order with 12 months supervision.

Miss Sarah Statham (prosecuting) said Mr Aston went to a takeaway, caused a disturbance and was ejected. Police told him to go home and he walked down the side of the Union pub. He recalled a group was standing nearby, somebody said something to him, he walked over, tried to run away and remembers ending up on the ground. He was being kicked in the head. The defendant would say he hit the victim once and others then set about him.

Mr Aston, who couldn’t say how many people attacked him and how long it went on for, suffered swelling to his head and ear, bruises, cuts and grazes. He was placed on light duties for several days by the Army.

The hearing was told three people were arrested near the scene. Two men had been dealt with by magistrates over the incident and had been given suspended prison terms.

Mr Simon Gurney, for Schofield, said the offence was isolated. The barrister continued: “He has no recent or relevant convictions and no offences for the last three years.”

Sentencing, Recorder Geoffrey Lowe said the victim appeared to have been behaving in a drunken way. He continued: “It’s not his fault what happened to him.”