Ex rugby captain jailed for grudge attack on woman

PUBLISHED: 15:41 08 December 2016

Darren Legge

Darren Legge

Archant

Darren Legge, aged 49, from Exmouth, has been jailed for attacking a woman outside a pub

A former Royal Marine from Exmouth has been jailed for a grudge attack on a woman who he kicked and punched outside a pub.

Darren Legge followed victim Debbie Sutton out of the Famous Old Barrel in Exmouth after a long standing feud between her and his girlfriend flared into an argument.

The 18-stone former Exmouth rugby captain suggested the two women went outside together to sort out their differences but then went instead of his partner.

He ushered Miss Sutton round a corner and away from the pub’s CCTV system and then punched her to the face and grabbed her by the hair before kicking her as she tried to get up.

She was left with a cut above her eye which needed hospital treatment, severe bruising, and numbness to the side of her face which she is still suffering from 18 months after the attack.

Legge claimed she was drunk and sustained all her injuries in an accidental fall into the side of a scaffolding lorry.

He was jailed when a jury at Exeter Crown Court rejected his story after seeing photographs of Miss Sutton’s injuries and hearing how he has a long record of violence, including previous assaults on women.

Estate manager Legge, aged 49, of Clarence Street, Exmouth, denied assault causing actual bodily harm in the incident on May 31, 2015.

He was found guilty and jailed for a year and three months by Judge Graham Cottle.

He told him: “It may well be there was a background to what happened that night but it does not begin to justify what you did to that lady.

“There had been a disagreement in the pub and you suggested she went outside with your girlfriend. In fact your girlfriend did not go and you went out instead.

“You went round the corner of Union Street and you punched her to the eye to start with. She fell to the ground and you took her hair and used your shod foot on her head and neck. There is no basis for disbelieving anything she said about it.

“You are a man with a number of previous convictions for offences of violence against males and females. This was an assault by a large man on a diminutive female. It was totally without justification and totally unacceptable.”

The jury at the three day trial heard there was ill feeling between Miss Sutton and Legge’s girlfriend Julie Frayne over past relationships with a man called David ‘Rocker’ Rowsell, who was the father of Miss Frayne’s child.

They had previously been neighbours in Highview Gardens, Exmouth, but after they fell out, Miss Frayne accused Miss Sutton of vandalising her garden.

Legge denied that any kind of attack had taken place and claimed the injuries were all caused by an accidental fall into a scaffolding lorry which was coincidentally owned by Rocker Rowsell.

He claimed she had threatened to ‘get the boys’ and shortly afterwards he had been pelted with stones from a car which drew up near him.

Miss Emily Cook, defending, said Legge has stayed out of trouble since the incident and has moved away from Exmouth to become an estate manager. She said he would lose his job and his tied cottage if he was sent to jail.

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