Suspended jail sentence for off-duty bouncer who attacked Royal Marine in Exmouth

PUBLISHED: 17:51 23 May 2017

Exeter Crown Court. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exeter crown court

Exeter Crown Court. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exeter crown court


An off-duty bouncer has been ordered to pay compensation to a Royal Marine who he attacked during a night out in Exmouth.

John Essex was partying with a group of bouncers from Taunton when his group clashed with a party of Marines who were celebrating victim Stewart Beeston’s demobbing, Exeter Crown Court heard.

Mr Beeston’s plans to start a new life outside the Royal Marines were wrecked by the attack, in which he suffered two fractures of the cheekbone and one of the eye socket.

Essex, 53, of Eaton Crescent, Taunton, admitted affray and was jailed for 12 months, suspended for two years, ordered to pay £1,000 compensation and to do 100 hours unpaid community work by Judge Mrs Justice May,

She told him: “Witnesses describe you as being the most aggressive that night, although you were not the only one involved. You are 53 and old enough to know very much better.

“This took place in a group situation, late at night, and after you had been drinking.”

Mr Tom Bradnock, prosecuting, said Essex was with a group of doormen from Taunton who were on a night out at the Fever and Boutique club in Exmouth on July 23, 2015.

They had left the club and were buying food at a kebab shop in the centre of the town when there was a dispute with a group of Royal Marines.

CCTV from behind the counter showed him in the doorway pushing Mr Beeston to the ground, but the ensuing fight was out of shot.

Mr Beeston, who was celebrating leaving the Marines after 22 years, was hit in the face, suffering a double fracture of the cheek and a broken eye socket.

He made a victim statement which said he may have to delay starting work as a civilian. He wrote: “It has made me feel sorry for stepping in and trying to do the right thing. I’ll think twice before I do it in the future.”

Miss Emma Martin, defending, said Essex lost his job as a doorman because of this incident, but is now working as a van driver. He does not accept he swung the blow which caused Mr Beeston’s injury.

She said: “It was a fast evolving incident in which he involved himself when he never should have. he regrets his part in this regrettable incident.”

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