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Tuesday, 18 April, 2000, 14:20 GMT 15:20 UK
Derby footballer headbutted woman

Derby striker Marvin Robinson
A Premiership footballer, who headbutted a woman outside a nightclub, has been sentenced to eight months' detention in a young offenders' institution.

Derby County striker Marvin Robinson broke 18-year-old Mary Morris' nose in an attack outside Wolverhampton's Canal Club last September.

Judge Christopher Hodson said the assault was so serious Robinson, 20, had to be given a custodial sentence.



This was not a flash of violence on the spur of the moment

Judge Christopher Hodson
Robinson, of Dunstall, Wolverhampton, pleaded guilty to assault causing actual bodily harm.

Michael Anning, prosecuting, said Robinson attacked Miss Morris after she told his ex-girlfriend he was seeing another girl.

Robinson was thrown out of the nightclub after an argument broke out between the two women.

But Wolverhampton Crown Court heard he then waited two hours for his victim to leave.

Revenge

"The defendant emerged from an alleyway and said 'I am going to finish the job'," Mr Anning told the court.

"With that he went up to her and headbutted her, fracturing her nose."

Judge Hodson said he accepted the initial dispute was not of Robinson's making.

But he said Robinson should have left the area after leaving the nightclub and had had two hours to cool down before the attack.

"It seems to me perfectly clear that you wanted some revenge. This was not a flash of violence on the spur of the moment," he said.

"This is, in my judgement, so grave an offence that there is no alternative to a sentence of custody."

'Out of character'

Peter Joyce QC, defending, said Robinson, who was sentenced to a supervision order for robbery in September 1996, was not a "stereotypical footballer" or a "villain-in-the-making".

Derby's first team coach Steve Round told the court that the club was proud to stand by Robinson unreservedly and regarded him as a "thoughtful" young man.

He said the offence was very out of character and the player had expressed regret for his actions.

In a statement on the club's website, Derby County say it believed the sentence was too harsh.

"Unquestionably he deserved to be punished, but we certainly back his right to appeal against the level of sentence imposed," the club statement says.

"We have to question whether the court has decided to make an example of him because of his professional status."

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