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Home   Canterbury   News   Article

Herne Bay footballer Ben Brown scarred for life after being knocked out by Thomas Murray in unprovoked Whistable pub assault

06 December 2013
by Paul Hooper

Footballer Ben Brown was left scarred after the pub attack

Footballer Ben Brown was left scarred after the pub attack

A Herne Bay footballer has been left with a permanent scar after being punched unconscious in an unprovoked pub attack in Whitstable.

Midfielder Ben Brown – who has also appeared on the ITV reality dating show Girlfriends – was talking with friends when he was knocked out cold.

His attacker, Thomas Murray, took umbrage when he thought Mr Brown had been looking at his girlfriend.

Canterbury Crown Court heard that without a word, he landed a severe blow - knocking him off his feet - but then carried on the attack as his victim lay motionless.

Despite the beating in June, Murray, of Chestfield Road, Chestfield, kept his freedom after receiving an 18-month jail sentence, suspended for two years.

The railway chargehand was also ordered to pay the part-time Herne Bay footballer £2,000 in compensation.

Sales boss Mr Brown – who could not meet clients for a month after the incident – declined to comment on the attack, which was captured on CCTV cameras inside the Prince Albert pub.

But in his victim impact statement, he said: "Physically I have recovered. But I have been left with a three-inch scar over my right eye and the actual eyebrow is not growing.

"The scar is a permanent reminder of the unprovoked attack on me."

Herne Bay midfielder Ben Brown in action during a match at Winches Field

Herne Bay midfielder Ben Brown in action during a match at Winches Field

Prosecutor Jim Harvey told the court how Mr Brown had been drinking with friends – but has "very little recollection of what took place".

"One moment he was drinking with friends and the next moment he woke up and was in an ambulance," he said.

"He required 17 stitches to his right eye. The incident was caught on CCTV and that shows the defendant standing over towards the bar.

"Mr Brown was there, not really being involved with the defendant. Murray is holding a glass in his hand.

The Prince Albert pub in Whitstable, where the assault took place

The Prince Albert pub in Whitstable, where the assault took place

"It is significant that the camera shows that immediately prior to him striking out, and with Mr Brown being totally unaware about what was about to happen, he transfers the glass to his non-striking hand."

The prosecutor said Murray then lashed out with his clenched fist and knocked his victim unconscious.

Witnesses later reported Murray then struck repeated blows to the face of his unconscious victim until he was pulled away.

Mr Harvey added: "This was a sustained attack on someone who was unconscious."

Phil Rowley, defending, said Murray was in "long-term, well paid" employment and had recently been promoted to chargehand.

"He is very well thought of and is a hard worker," he said. "He is a thoroughly decent and well thought of young man. He is deeply ashamed of his behaviour.

"Sadly, on this occasion, probably clouded by drink, he formed the view – and he now accepts that may be unwarranted – that there was inappropriate interest being shown in his girlfriend.

"That is not advanced as mitigation and it is not asserted that there was any improper behaviour. But he formed that view, perhaps mistakenly."

Murray, who admitted unlawful wounding, was also ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid work for the community.

He was also banned from going into pubs for the next three months.

The case was heard at Canterbury Crown Court

The case was heard at Canterbury Crown Court

Judge Nigel Van Der Bijl told him: "I have seen all of these character references about you. What on earth caused you to do this? It must be alcohol, but that is not an excuse.

"You will have to compensate your victim, who is still suffering badly."

He was ordered to pay Mr Brown £2,000 within 12 months.

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