Man jailed over referee headbutt
A footballer who headbutted a referee for giving him a red card has been jailed for 12 months.
James Barnett was sentenced after pleading guilty to a charge of assault causing actual bodily harm, police said.
The 25-year-old was playing in a six-a-side football match on an astro-turf pitch in Bracknell, Berkshire, on the evening of Monday, July 2, when the incident happened.
A Thames Valley Police spokesman said: "Prior to one of the matches, Barnett and the victim, a 27-year-old man who was a referee at the event, had a disagreement over the colour of top the victim was wearing.
"Barnett became abusive and aggressive towards the victim and he was shown the red card before the match began.
"Following the game, Barnett approached the referee on the pitch and pushed him in the chest before headbutting him. The victim fell to the floor and was repeatedly kicked in the body and head by Barnett.
"Barnett was pulled away by other players, including his own team-mates. He was arrested two days later after voluntarily handing himself in to a police station. The victim suffered cuts and bruises to his face and body and has recently had to undergo surgery to remove teeth which were left painful following the assault."
Pc Ashley Todd, of Bracknell CID, said: "Barnett was angry about being shown a red card before a six-a-side football match and took out his frustration by carrying out an unprovoked and reckless assault on the victim, which could have easily been more serious.
"I welcome the sentence given to him and hope it shows how mindless and violent assaults such as this will not go unpunished and are taken very seriously by both the police and courts."
Barnett, of Kings Road, West Drayton, was sentenced at Reading Crown Court last Friday.