Former soldier avoids jail after violent attack

Sam Aspland, 25,
Sam Aspland, 25,

A former soldier who kicked a man in the head, breaking two teeth, as he lay on the ground has been saved from jail after claiming he never got over pals dying in Afghanistan.

Sam Aspland, 25, head-butted a man and kicked him unconscious.

Aspland then broke down in tears when he realised he could not just walk away.

Hull Crown Court heard he suffered a number of psychiatric problems after former friends were killed or seriously injured when he was in UK.

Aspland had been asked to leave the Londesborough Arms, in Market Weighton, for telling a sick joke.

Angry that his “dark Army humour” had fallen flat, he asked two strangers if they knew where the man he offended lived.

When he was told they didn’t he turned on one man who told him not to be “daft” and to “go home”.

Aspland formerly of Beacon View, Holme-upon-Spalding-Moor, appeared at Hull Crown Court for sentence after pleading guilty to a charge of causing actual bodily harm.

Crown barrister Jane Bryan said Aspland head butted his victim sending him to the floor on April 19 2014.

Despite being restrained Aspland got up and threw another punch sending the man to the floor again before shouting “this is what the ******* Army does to you!”

Aspland was told to calm down, but as the victim sat on the kerb he kicked him in the head – knocking him unconscious.

The court heard he had to be reprimanded for causing actual bodily harm in 2007, that he had received a caution in 2010 for 
affray, had a caution for criminal damage, convictions for motoring offences and breaches of community orders.

The victim suffered a closed eye, cut nose, and elbows and two damaged teeth - one of which had to be removed and said he had difficutly eating.

Defence barrister barrister Angus Taylor said: “He has to accept he is responsible for injuries and he was wreckless. He does have a record. His father had been beating his mother on a regular basis. The offences in 2010-13 were when things weren’t going well in Army. In the Army he developed and abscess in the mouth - a rare condition - and was back squaded. Many of his friends went to Afghanistan - some being killed others coming home with serious injuries. He was then involved in a serious car accident where his car hit a tree and was pulled from the car by a passing lorry driver and his condition was life threatening.”

He said as a result of the traumas he developed mental health problems and left the Army in 2012 by mutual consent, but still wished to return.

He said Aspland had moved to Thornaby on Teesside since the attack and although jobless now had two children and a girlfriend to support.

Sentencing Judge Mark Bury said in normal circumstances he would have jailed Aspland – but: “I am persuaded your behaviour was at least in part due to your experience in Army and partly due to your violent upbringing. There is evidence to support this in your reference to the Army during the attack.”

Aspland was given a 16-month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to complete 250 hours of unpaid work and pay £1,000 compensation to his victim.