Man who battered pal after rugby job axed loses appeal

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A former rugby league club historian who almost battered a friend to death in anger at losing his job 12 YEARS earlier has lost his appeal against an indefinite prison sentence.

Matthew Price’s fury at being ousted from the role at Batley Bulldogs had festered before he flipped and attacked fellow fan Andrew Watson.

Price, 37, of Landsdowne Close, Batley, tried to strangle his friend, then bludgeoned him with a stick.

Mr Watson had to undergo life-saving surgery to remove a splinter of wood which pierced his neck.

Price then armed himself with a carving knife and went to his parents’ home with the intention of attacking his sister.

Price was jailed for the public’s protection – which is almost identical to a life sentence – at Leeds Crown Court in July 2010 after a judge ruled he posed a significant risk of danger to the public.

He previously admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent, possession of a knife and criminal damage.

His lawyers yesterday argued he should not have been handed the open-ended sentence and urged judges sitting at London’s Criminal Appeal Court to replace it with a conventional jail term. But his appeal was dismissed by three of the country’s top judges, who said they would not interfere with the sentence.

His lawyers argued he was not a ‘dangerous offender’ and said he hadn’t been given access to therapy since he was locked up. But, dismissing the appeal, Mrs Justice Thirlwall said there had been therapy made available to him, but he apparently chose not to use it.

The judge, sitting with Lady Justice Rafferty and Judge Andrew Gilbart QC, added: “We have the gravest reservations as to the honesty and insight he has when recounting his involvement in this offence and also his attempts to reduce the level of dangerousness that he presents. Accordingly, we are not prepared to set aside the sentence of imprisonment for public protection”

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