TEN seconds of madness during a pub fight has led to a businessman being sent to prison for 15 months.
There were tears in a packed public gallery as Ricky Underdown was jailed after being found guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard the 35-year-old had got into a fight at the Green Posts pub, in London Road, North End on Friday, October 18 last year.
Roderick James, defending, said: ‘This offence has to be described as out of character and a moment of madness and from the CCTV it lasts just two kicks.’
The court had previously been shown CCTV footage at Underdown’s trial, which showed Underdown stamping on his victim Neil Brooks at least twice, in scenes that lasted 10 seconds, as Mr Brooks lay on the floor.
The court heard that Underdown was the sole breadwinner for his wife and children, and he had recently lost his business at the time of the fight and as a result, his family had lost their home.
He ran into Mr Brooks at the Green Posts while out drinking with another friend and the three started arguing.
The two friends left the pub and then returned to continue the argument with Mr Brooks, beckoning him out of the pub, where a group fight took place resulting in Mr Brooks lying on the floor and Underdown stamping on him.
Mr James said despite the pending court case, Underdown had managed to build up another business which employed five people, who stood to lose their jobs if Underdown went to prison.
Nineteen good character references from people in well-respected positions in the community had been written to the court and Mr James asked Judge Roger Hetherington to take these in to consideration.
He added: ‘Their descriptions are all of a caring, good employee, hard working, good family man, who is genuine, trustworthy, helpful and nice.
‘All of them say they learnt with shock and surprise about his conviction as it is out of character to what they have known for many years.’
The court heard Underdown also had a previous conviction for assault in 1999, but he had not been in trouble since.
Judge Hetherington said he did not have much sympathy for Underdown as he had originally contested the case, meaning it went to trial by jury.
He added: ‘The court takes a very serious view of stamping cases.’
He sentenced Underdown, of Chasewater Avenue, Copnor, to 15 months imprisonment, to serve at least half.