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Accused footballer claims he threw punch in self-defence
AN AMATEUR footballer told a jury he broke the jaw of an opposing player during a cup match because he feared he was about to be attacked.
Jody Lewis Haw, 30, playing as a forward for the Dick Turpin pub, alleged defender Dan Hebditch, 26, playing for Huntington WMC, called him a name, clenched his fist and lowered his head as though he was about to butt him.
“I put my head down and swung my arm to get him out of the way,” said Haw in the witness box at York Crown Court.
The jury has heard his blow landed on Mr Hebditch’s cheek and broke his jaw in two places. Doctors inserted a metal plate and screws to repair it. Mr Hebditch denies being aggressive or making to attack Haw.
Haw, of Malvern Avenue, Acomb, denies grievous bodily harm on the grounds he acted in reasonable self-defence.
The incident began in stoppage time at the end of the second-half on Sunday, October 30, last year when Dick Turpin, based in Woodthorpe, were leading 5-4 and Mr Hebditch had the ball.
Haw tackled him from behind and the referee blew for a free kick.
Earlier, Huntington goalkeeper Martin Chadwick agreed with the defence that Mr Hebditch conceded a penalty by fouling Haw in the first half and Dick Turpin scored.
Referee Elliot Shiers said he gave four yellow cards to Huntington players but could not recall if one was to Mr Hebditch. He would also have given Haw a red card after the punch had the player not walked off immediately afterwards, the court was told.
Huntington captain Simon Yorke told the court Haw took exception when Mr Hebditch insulted the Dick Turpin team as he was encouraging his teammates in the game’s final minutes. Yorke said he spoke to both players to try and calm the situation and from Haw’s reaction, he feared Mr Hebditch could be “in danger” if he got the ball.
Dick Turpin supporters claimed Mr Hebditch was swearing in an aggressive way throughout the match, but Huntington players claimed bad language was common in football and the atmosphere generally was good.
• The trial continues.