Page last updated at 13:01 GMT, Wednesday, 2 September 2009 14:01 UK

TV presenter jailed for two years

Ashley Blake filmed on CCTV

Ashley Blake was filmed on CCTV fetching the pole

A former BBC television presenter who hit a teenager with a 3ft wooden pole in a fight outside a West Midlands bar has been jailed for two years.

Ashley Blake was found guilty of wounding Greg Jones, 17, and intending to pervert the course of justice.

Blake, 40, who presented Midlands Today, was sacked following his conviction at Birmingham Crown Court.

He had denied January's attack outside The Place 2B restaurant in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham.

Jurors heard he swung a patio umbrella pole above his head, hitting the teenager in the face.

Admitted lying

Greg Jones, who had been attending an 18th birthday party, suffered facial injuries to his lip and chin.

Ashley Blake
Ashley Blake formerly owned the bar in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham

The court heard he had gone to the aid of 17-year-old Adam Finn who had been knocked unconscious when violence flared.

Blake then tried to hide the pole by throwing it into a neighbouring garden centre.

He initially denied having the pole but later admitted lying to detectives after being shown CCTV footage of him fetching it from behind the bar.

He said he had used the pole as a bat to deflect missiles being thrown at him.

The man who attacked Adam Finn - Steven Sproule, 38, of Booths Farm Road, Great Barr - admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm and was jailed for 13 months.

'Ruined' man

Blake was also given a six-month sentence, to run concurrently with the two-year term, for intending to pervert the course of justice.

Your career is over. You have nobody to blame for that but yourself
Judge Peter Carr

Blake had previous convictions in the 1980s and 1990s for theft, handling stolen goods and driving while disqualified, the court heard.

He was sacked by the BBC two weeks after his conviction.

His defence barrister Nigel Rumfitt QC, said Blake had already been punished because his "career is in tatters".

He said on 24 January - the day before the incident - Blake was "an extremely successful man" but had then "panicked" and became a "ruined" one.

He added: "In a few moments he threw all that away.

"He overreacted to a violent situation that was not his making."

Judge Peter Carr told the presenter: "Your career is over. You have nobody to blame for that but yourself.

"Whilst I appreciate all you have lost, I bear in mind a young man was injured, leaving a permanent scar."

He said he had to consider lies Blake told in police interviews and to the trial jury, adding: "An appropriate sentence in your case is one of two years."

Blake mouthed the words "I love you" to his partner Jessica Hayes as he was led away to begin his sentence.



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SEE ALSO
BBC man sacked after conviction
13 Aug 09 |  West Midlands
BBC man convicted of wounding boy
03 Aug 09 |  West Midlands
Presenter Blake 'lied to police'
30 Jul 09 |  West Midlands
Presenter 'hit youth with pole'
27 Jul 09 |  West Midlands

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