Page last updated at 15:24 GMT, Tuesday, 20 May 2008 16:24 UK

Joey Barton is jailed for assault

Joey Barton
Joey Barton was jailed for six months

Premier League footballer Joey Barton has been jailed for assault and affray.

Barton, 25, was captured on CCTV in Liverpool on 27 December 2007 punching one man 20 times before an attack which left a teenage boy with broken teeth.

The Newcastle and England midfielder, from Widnes, admitted the charges last month but reporting restrictions were only lifted on Tuesday.

Sentencing him to six months in jail, Judge Henry Globe QC said it was a "violent and cowardly act".

Liverpool Crown Court heard how Barton, of Foxbank Road, had been on a Boxing Day night out with his brother, cousin and other friends in Liverpool city centre.

Barton's cousin, Nadine Wilson, 27, of Childwall, Liverpool, and his brother Andrew Barton, 20, also of Foxbank Road, Widnes, also pleaded guilty to their part in the assaults.

Punched on floor

Barton had drunk 10 pints of lager and five bottles of lager during the night, before going to a McDonald's restaurant on Church Street.

The group got into a heated discussion with some youths inside the restaurant, before leaving and walking up Church Street towards Bold Street.

2004 February: First red card for Manchester City
April: Storms out of City ground after being dropped
July: Criticised by manager for sparking mass brawl in pre-season friendly game
December: Stubs cigar into eye of team-mate Jamie Tandy at Christmas party (fined six weeks' wages)
2005 May: Involved in early hours road accident, injuring pedestrian
July: Altercation with teenage fan during Asian tour (fined eight weeks' wages)
2006 September: Drops shorts in direction of Everton fans during game (police take no action)
2007 November: FA probe tackle on Dickson Etuhu after Barton's move to Newcastle but no action
December: Describes Newcastle fans as "vicious"
2008 May: Jailed for assault

The Barton group was involved in some verbal exchanges with others before the attack happened.

Joey Barton was caught on CCTV knocking an unidentified man to the ground. He then straddled him and punched him four or five times as his cousin threw food at the victim before the Premier League player punched him up to 15 times more.

Minutes later, the midfielder attacked a 16-year-old, punching him and leaving him with broken teeth.

The hearing was told the footballer was remorseful about the incident and had admitted to an alcohol problem.

Two character references were read out in court about Barton, who has a tendency to lose his temper both on and off the field.

The first reference, from Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan, was read to the court by Stuart Driver QC, mitigating.

Keegan said he first knew the player when he was Manchester City manager.

He said of that period: "There were a number of issues in his life and events, some of which have been very well documented.

"Had I been asked to give character evidence for him then, I probably wouldn't have been able to do so."

'Total abstinence'

He added that since then he had seen a "massive change" in Barton and that he was now "a far more responsible individual".

A second reference was given by Peter Kay, of the Sporting Chance clinic, which has been supporting Barton while on bail.

Mr Kay said: "Joey recognises he has an addiction to alcohol and the only way forward is total abstinence."

He also said Barton "despises" the man he becomes after consuming alcohol.

Sentencing, Judge Globe told him: "Without doubt, the most serious of the three offenders is you.

"You were restrained by others but ignored them and acted in an extremely violent and aggressive manner.

"You have a high profile as a footballer and you know that draws attention to you. Yet you drank to excess and behaved in an aggressive, disgraceful manner."

Barton was also ordered to pay 2,500 to the youth whose teeth were broken.

Andrew Barton was jailed for four months suspended for two years for assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Wilson received a six-month sentence suspended for two years for affray and common assault.

Originally from Huyton, Merseyside, Joey Barton began his football career with Manchester City in 2002.

Barton was sold by them to Newcastle United in June 2007 in a 5.8m deal, four months after he had made his full international debut for England.

His club said in a statement: "Newcastle United notes the sentence passed to Joey Barton at Liverpool Crown Court today.

"The club is considering the verdict and will be making no further comment at this moment."

Footballer in court over assault
12 Mar 08 |  Merseyside
Barton gets fine but escapes ban
10 Oct 06 |  Man City
Barton is fined over hotel fracas
27 Jul 05 |  Man City
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05 May 05 |  Merseyside

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