England international soccer player Joey Barton was jailed for six months on Tuesday for a "violent and cowardly attack" outside a branch of McDonald’s after he became embroiled in a street fight at the end of a drunken night out in Liverpool.
The Premier League player, who signed for Newcastle in a £5.8 million deal from Manchester City last summer, had drunk 10 pints of lager and five more bottles of lager before launching a sustained attack on a stranger and punching a 16-year-old boy in the face.
The sentence means Barton, who earns about £60,000 a week, will be freed from jail in time for the start of the next soccer season. But last night his club would not be drawn on his future, releasing a statement saying: “Newcastle United notes the sentence passed to Joey Barton at Liverpool crown court today. The club is considering the verdict and will be making no further comment at this moment.”
Barton admitted the charge relating to an assault at about 5.30am on Dec. 27 last year at the end of a night out with his brother Andrew and his cousin, Nadine Wilson.
CCTV footage showed Barton rain up to 20 punches on an unknown man, in what the judge, Henry Globe, called a “violent and cowardly attack.”
Barton, 25, from Widnes, came out of the restaurant, knocked the man to the ground, then straddled him and punched him four or five times as his cousin threw food. He was seen to punch the man up to 15 times more.
Wilson, 27, from Childwall, Merseyside, and Andrew Barton, 20, also of Widnes, pleaded guilty to their part in the assaults.
“Without doubt, the most serious of the three offenders is you,” Globe told the soccer player. “You were restrained by the others, but ignored them and acted in an extremely violent and aggressive manner.
“It also happened at a time when you were on bail for two other matters. If ever there was a time when you should be on your best behavior, it was then. You have a high profile as a footballer and you know that draws attention to you,” he said.
He said Barton had drunk to excess and behaved in an aggressive, disgraceful manner.