Footballer jailed for 12 months after assault

First published in News by , Senior Reporter

A FORMER Premier League footballer from Basingstoke has been jailed after whipping a man with a belt outside a nightclub.

Josh Payne, who made two appearances for West Ham United in 2009, was jailed for 12 months for an assault in Guildford.

His co-defendant, Stephen Bloomfield, of Tennyson Way, South Ham, Basingstoke, received a four-month sentence, suspended for 12 months.

Following the sentence, Payne, 22, a former Brighton Hill Community College pupil, had his contract terminated by his current club Aldershot Town FC.

Both men appeared at Guildford Crown Court for sentence.

At earlier hearings, Payne pleaded guilty to assault causing actual bodily harm and common assault, while Bloomfield admitted inflicting actual bodily harm.

The court heard the attack on two men started at 3am on May 7 last year outside the Dusk nightclub, in North Street, Guildford.

CCTV footage showed Payne and Bloomfield chasing one of the victims, who was 17 at the time, down a street, before attacking him.

Payne was seen to take off his belt and whip the victim, who suffered cuts and bruises to his head and body.

Judge Christopher Critchlow gave Payne a 12-month prison sentence for causing actual bodily harm and a four-month sentence, to run concurrently, for common assault.

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Bloomfield, 26, received a four-month sentence, suspended for 12 months, with 120 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £250 compensation to the victim.

Payne, a midfielder, grew up in Brighton Hill, and signed for Crystal Palace at the age of seven, before spells at Southampton, Bournemouth and Portsmouth. He joined West Ham when he left school.

In January 2011, he signed for Aldershot and scored three goals in 22 appearances.

After the court hearing, the club said in a statement that it had terminated Payne’s contract because it could not condone such behaviour.

It added: “Our players and staff are important role models for our next generation of supporters.”

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