Footballer escapes jail for nightclub attack
A BIDEFORD footballer who knocked a man unconscious in a Torquay nightclub has been spared jail.
Clay Bond, 21, a former youth player for Torquay United and Plymouth Argyle, admitted punching the father-of-two at The Venue, Torwood Street in April.
The victim has been left too frightened to go out at night, South Devon magistrates sitting in Torquay were told.
District Judge Nigel Hodkinson sentenced Bond, of Highland Close, Chelston, to a three-month prison term, suspended for a year, and ordered him to pay £2,000 compensation to the victim after he pleaded guilty to assault.
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He told Bond: "If a man cannot go into licensed premises without being laid out with a broken jaw for no reason at all then it is a very sorry state of affairs.
"I have to deter people from acting in the same way.
"Drinking is no excuse. The victim is someone who is too afraid to go out at night and may be too afraid to go out on his own again."
Prosecutor David Barnes told the court that the victim could recall nothing of the incident which happened outside the toilets of the nightclub.
But when he woke up the next day, he was in so much pain that he went to the hospital for treatment.
X-rays showed he had a broken jaw.
He said: "CCTV was seized and shows a punch out of nowhere.
"It lays him out. He is knocked unconscious.
"There does not seem to be any confrontation between the two men and Mr Bond just walks away."
Bond, who represented himself, told the court: "I'm really sorry for what happened. I am not the type of person to do that.
"It was a one off and I will not be repeating it. I am terribly sorry."
The court heard that Bond was in a long-term relationship.
He rarely went drinking with friends.
He has given up his professional football career which had included playing for teams in Spain and Norway.
Bond signed for Bideford at the start of the 2007/08 season after returning to England from a spell in the Spanish third division.
The midfielder left Bideford in September 2008.
He joined Stoke Gabriel, but returned to the Sports Ground at the start of the new football season.
He now works as a self-employed tiler.
Bond was also ordered to complete 200 hours unpaid work.