Former Bodmin Town footballer Glynn Hobbs jailed for savage attack on war hero
A former Bodmin Town footballer has been jailed for three years and two months for savagely attacking and breaking the jaw of a war hero in the toilets of a Plymouth nightclub.
Glynn Hobbs, who played for Bodmin earlier this season, grabbed the commando between the legs and urinated upon him in an attack which ended his combat career, a court heard.
Friend Brian Gunningham and an unknown man joined Hobbs in punching the defenceless Afghanistan veteran at the Venue in Union Street.
Gunner Tony Avory-Barker had survived a firefight and a bomb blast which damaged his hearing in the war-torn country, Plymouth Crown Court was told.
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Judge Paul Darlow said it was a “sustained, savage and cowardly attack”.
He added: “He feels he is a shadow of the man he once was, as a member of the commandos.
“At one stage there were three of you against him, perhaps those are the odds you like, you outnumbered him and beat him up.”
In a moving statement read to the court, the 21-year-old said: “This cowardly attack has affected me greatly. There are moments when I have been in tears due to the anger and the frustration.”
Mr Avory-Barker, who joined the Army aged 16, said because of the injury to his jaw and the damage to his hearing, he could no longer serve on the frontline with city-based 29 Commando. Two metal plates were inserted in his jaw to repair a double fracture.
The former county-level rugby player was offered a non-combat role but decided to leave the Army.
Judge Darlow jailed Hobbs, 27, for three years and two months and 29-year-old Gunningham for two years and six months. They should serve half those terms behind bars.
Hobbs, of Tamar Street, Devonport, and Gunningham, of Wilkinson Road, Barne Barton, had earlier admitted causing grievous bodily harm without intent on September 30 last year.
Julia Cox, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said Mr Avory-Barker had been standing at a urinal at 3.30am when Hobbs bumped into him. She said Hobbs then grabbed him between the legs and made a lewd comment.
Miss Cox added Hobbs then urinated on his leg and started to repeatedly punch him in the face.
She said Gunningham and a third unidentified man also hit him in the face several times.
The court heard both men had written letters of apology to their victim.
Nick Lewin, for Gunningham, said he had a difficult childhood and had through his life “struggled with one addiction or another”. He added he was heavily in drink when he joined “someone else’s fight”.
Mr Lewin added he had sought counselling for his drinking and his temper.
Ali Rafati, for Hobbs, said he was determined to leave behind his “Jekyll and Hyde” persona. He added he worked as a painter and decorator and coached youngsters at football but was a “menace” after drinking. He added the father-of-two was tackling his drinking.