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Soccer player in
brawl escapes jail

By Staf Newsletter  |  Posted: December 15, 2005

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STAFFORD Rangers' midfielder Levi Reid narrowly escaped jail for his part in a brawl outside the town's Zanzibar nightclub.

Reid was ordered to do 200 hours community punishment and pay one of the victims of the violence, Michael Swift, £1,000 compensation.

But Judge Michael Burrows told Reid, when sentencing him at Stafford Crown Court on Monday: "You could not complain if I sent you to prison.

"You were ready and willing to take part in the violence."

Reid, 22, of St Peter's Gardens, Rickerscote, was convicted by a jury on a majority verdict of affray at his trial last month.

A teenage co-accused who cannot be named for legal reasons was ordered to do 150 hours' community punishment after admitting affray. The judge said his involvement in the brawl was "to a lesser extent".

The jury heard that brothers Michael and Mark Swift, both students from Bristol, received serious injuries in the disturbance in November last year, as they were kicked by other people, not Reid.

The prosecution said Reid, then playing for Port Vale, got involved when a friend who had been thrown out of Zanzibar's used his mobile phone to "call up the troops".

Reid and the teenager "joined in with a vengeance". Michael Swift ended up on the ground, where his head was kicked a number of times by others, not the defendants.

Judge Burrows told Reid and his co-accused: "Both of you took part in an act of violence in a public place. You and your group caused serious injuries to two people."

Michelle Heeley, for Reid, said her client had been released by Port Vale at the end of last season because of this incident.

He was been willing to go to a non-league club to remain involved with his passion - football - on much reduced earnings of £350 a week, she said.

A Stafford Rangers statement said: "We hope he can now put this behind him and pursue his future with Stafford Rangers," adding that Reid had shown himself to be a talented player with real commitment.

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