Drunk and violent squaddie escapes prison because he is a ‘very good soldier’


A drunken squaddie who battered a man while on bail for an earlier assault walked free from court after the judge refused to jail him because he is a ”very good soldier”.

Private Thomas Thorne, 19, launched a frenzied attack on reveller Oliver Biddle outside a nightclub in January.

Thorne, who serves with the Queens Royal Hussars, was on bail for that offence when he smashed Matthew Heatherington in the face on Saturday night.

The victim needed five stitches to his left eye after Thorne launched at him on the dancefloor.

But despite Thorne’s violent history, he escaped jail because of his ”duty to this country”.

Judge Richard Griffith-Jones, told him: ”I am going to take an exceptional course in your case.

”Many would think this sort of violence would justify a custodial sentence.

”But you are a very good soldier with a good future, possibly, someone who puts themselves at great danger out of duty to this country.”

Thorne, from Shirely, Solihull, admitted one count of assault and another to be taken into consideration when he appeared at Warwick Crown Court on Monday.

He was given a community order to carry out 80 hours unpaid work.

Charnjit Jutla, prosecuting, told the court Thorne battered Mr Biddle outside a bar in Solihull, West Mids., in January.

Mr Biddle suffered multiple bruises and cuts after Thorne repeatedly punched him in the face and head before kicking him as he lay on the ground.

Thorne was granted bail and ordered not to enter Solihull at night.

But two days before his trial was due to start Thorne attacked Mr Heatherington after stamping on his foot in a nightclub.

Miss Jutla said: ”When he was questioned Thorne he accepted causing the injury with a punch because he had ‘lost face’ with his friends after being spoken to for standing on his victim’s foot.”

Earl Pinnock, defending, told the court Thorne would be discharged from the Army if he was jailed.

He said: ”I would ask you to give this very silly young man a final opportunity to resume his career.”


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