An amateur footballer has been sentenced to a year-long prison sentence for intentionally breaking an opponent’s leg with what was described as a “long jump-style” lunge.
Nathaniel Kerr, 27, shattered the leg of Stuart Parsons, 30, with a two-footed tackle during a Stockport pub league match in August 2014 before subjecting his victim to a tirade of abuse as he lay mangled on the floor.
After being air-lifted to hospital, Parsons required a pin in his leg and a plate in his ankle after it was broken in two places by Kerr’s tackle. The incident reportedly happened just moments after Parsons became embroiled in an argument with one of Kerr’s teammates during the early stages of the game.
Prosecutor Justin Hayhoe told Manchester’s Minshull Street crown court that Kerr pointed at his teammate and said “I’ve done this because of you!” before yelling at Parsons as he lay in agony on the ground.
In his official match report, the referee on duty said he had “never seen such aggression on a football pitch”.
Kerr, who briefly played league football for Rotherham in the past before making his way down through the non-leagues, was arrested several weeks after the game and charged with section 18 assault – wounding with intent.
He pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of section 20 assault, also known as unlawful wounding/inflicting grievous body harm.
However, Judge Stuart Driver QC said he had no option but to send Kerr, who has previous convictions for violence, to prison due to the malicious nature of the incident.
“This wasn’t a late or misjudged tackle in a football game,” the judge said.
“We are talking about an assault where one man flew through the air and stamped both of his feet on another man’s leg, intentionally, albeit in the heat of the moment, causing him serious injury.
“This is a case where a great deal of harm was caused. It has had a serious impact on [the victim’s] life.”
Personally speaking, one of the several reasons I stopped playing Sunday League almost 10 years ago was the vile thuggish conduct that permeated almost every other game, with limb-threatening “tackles” seemingly considered par for the course.
Maybe it was just a particularly rough league, but it always seemed there was at least one day-release nutter who’d only turned up for a fight – spoiling it for everybody else.
I do not miss it in the slightest.