Soldier broke friend’s jaw in Leeds city centre fight over girl

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A soldier broke his army colleague’s jaw in a taxi rank fight over a woman, a court heard.

Richard Clark punched the victim repeatedly in the face after they had spent the night drinking together.

Leeds Crown Court heard the two men had served together on a tour of Afghanistan and had been out with other army colleagues in Leeds city centre in May this year.

Robert Galley, prosecuting, said the two men had been friends for four years and had gone to get a taxi on Lower Briggate at 4.30am.

Mr Galley said the victim went to speak to a woman as she got into a taxi and she was “dismissive and condescending” towards him. Clark then approached the woman and she gave him her phone number. Mr Galley said the victim told Clark he believed he should have “stuck up for him” rather than behaving in the way he did and the two men squared up to each other.

Clark struck him five times to the face. The victim suffered a broken nose and two fractures to his jaw. He had to have a metal plate fitted to his face and it could take up to 18 months before he makes a full recovery. Clark pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm.

The court heard Clark is a lance corporal but his rank was now in jeopardy.

Michael Devlin, mitigating, said Clark, who is based at Catterick Barracks, had an exemplary military record but faced losing his career and his pension if he was sent immediately to prison.

Clark was given a 14-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 180 hours of unpaid work

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