Pontllanfraith man ‘punched schoolboy rugby player’ court hears

ACCUSED: Paul Harrison yesterday Man, 42, denies attacks at under-16s rugby game

ACCUSED: Paul Harrison yesterday Man, 42, denies attacks at under-16s rugby game

First published in News South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

A SPECTATOR punched and stamped on a 15-yearold boy at a children’s rugby game before assaulting a woman who tried to protect the youth, a court heard.

Paul Harrison, 42, of Brynteg Avenue, Pontllanfraith, appeared at Cardiff Crown Court charged with two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm against Thomas Owen and Nicola Palmer.

Harrison denies the offences, alleged to have happened on March 13 last year during a game between the under-16s sides for Bargoed Rugby Club and Risca, for whom his son was playing on the day.

Mr Owen’s mother, Lynne Owen, told the court that her then 15-year-old son, who had the nickname ‘Titch’ because of his height, was a substitute for Bargoed on the sideline when a scuffle broke out between two players on the pitch shortly after kick-off.

Ms Owen said she had a clear view of Harrison and saw him “physically and violently”

kick the person on the floor at least four times to the upper part of their body.

She said she ran over to him, screaming “they’re going to kill him” when she realised it was her son.

Julian James, who was acting manager for Bargoed, told the court a boy playing for Risca launched himself into the Bargoed player, who was standing on the touchline, and took the player and other people, including Mr Owen, rolling down an embankment.

Mr James said he saw Harrison approach Mr Owen, now 17, and they were standing face to face when Harrison punched the boy in the head six or seven times.

He said he grabbed Harrison in a bear hug and pinned his arms to stop him punching, but said he was then kicking and stamping on the boy. Nicola Palmer, another parent at the game, ran over to the boy and covered his head with her arms, She said: “I could feel blows to my side and back. I had my head down and tried to keep Thomas’ head out of the way.”

Prosecutor Hilary Roberts said the boy suffered bruising to his forehead, swelling and bruising to the back of his head and a cut lip.

Proceeding.

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