Soldier needed stitches after late-night fight

One of the seven stolen signs from the Isle of Wight. Picture: Hampshire Constabulary

Warning over fears stolen vintage signs worth £1,400 could be sold in Portsmouth

Have your say

A PUNCH-UP left a soldier needing stitches to his head after he was kicked and stamped on in the street.

John-Claude Fowler, of the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, was out drinking with a group of fellow soldiers at the Ship Inn, in Emsworth.

But the evening took a turn for the worse when the friends, who are all based at the Thorney Island barracks, got into a row with a group of locals, including Connor Grant-Loveless.

The argument flared up again when the two groups met outside a nearby takeaway in the early hours of the morning.

About a dozen men were involved in the violence as punches were thrown.

Grant-Loveless, who works in the building trade, punched Mr Fowler to the ground and then stamped on his head.

The soldier was taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, with cuts and bruises to his head, one of which needed five stitches.

Sentencing him at Portsmouth Crown Court, Judge Ian Pearson said: ‘This offence is a serious offence of its type because it was drunken street violence which is all too prevalent in this particular area.

‘You were part of a group that took part in this altercation and you used a shod foot to kick or stamp on the head of the victim.’

Grant-Loveless, of Conigar Road, Emsworth, pleaded guilty to assault causing actual bodily harm.

The judge gave him a 36-week prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered him to do 150 hours of unpaid work.

The 24-year-old will have to stay in over Christmas after the judge gave him a three-month curfew.

He will have to wear an electronic tag and can’t go out between 7pm and 6am.

Judge Pearson warned him: ‘If you breach the terms of the order you will be brought back to court and the suspended sentence will be activated.’

Nicholas Cotter, defending, said: ‘There was a group of people involved here. The crown agree that there was provocation. Several people ended up on the floor that evening.

‘The defendant was one of them – he was kicked and punched.

‘Whilst that doesn’t excuse his behaviour when he stood up it perhaps paints a picture of provocation.’

He added: ‘This offence is out of character for this young man. It was spontaneous, not premeditated violence.’

The judge ordered Grant-Loveless to pay £500 in compensation to Mr Fowler and £500 in court costs following the assault in September 2010.