Page last updated at 15:24 GMT, Thursday, 2 April 2009 16:24 UK

Rugby star attacker avoids jail

Ben Cockayne
Cockayne signed a three-year deal with Hull KR in August

Rugby league star Ben Cockayne has been given a suspended prison sentence for his part in an "appalling assault" on a man.

The Hull KR full back, 25, and Steven Hayward, 20, a part-time player with Castleford Tigers reserves, attacked the man in Normanton in 2007.

The pair earlier pleaded guilty to assault causing actual bodily harm over the attack.

Both men were given suspended sentences at Leeds Crown Court on Thursday.

Victim compensation

Cockayne was given a 51-week jail term suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 240 hours of community service.

Hayward was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered to complete 180 hours of community service.

The pair, who had served three nights in custody before the sentencing, were also ordered to pay compensation to their victim.

Judge Alistair McCallum told them: "This sort of behaviour normally draws a prison sentence and it has to draw a prison sentence regardless of who you are, regardless of how well you have behaved in the past.

"Because it is a message we have to send out, especially to our young people, the sort of people attracted to people like yourself.

"In this case a prison sentence is necessary but in both cases I will tell you straight away I am going to suspend them."

Hull KR, who gave Cockayne a three-year contract last August, said it took the sentence seriously.

In a statement the club said: "We intend to meet with Ben and his representatives to discuss this outcome, so we are not in a position to offer further comment until this meeting has taken place."


Rugby player avoids prison term

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