Footballer is sent to prison

Gareth Sygrove
Gareth Sygrove

A TEARFUL plea from a well-known Scarborough amateur footballer was not enough to prevent him being sent to jail.

Gareth Sygrove, 29, who plays for Scarborough Athletic, was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison yesterday, after magistrates heard how he punched a bar manager who had refused to serve him alcohol.

The assault, which took place in the Opera House Casino last month, put Sygrove in breach of a suspended sentence, which he had been handed for an earlier assault.

Moments before magistrates retired to decide on sentencing, a distressed Sygrove told them: “I would like to say I really am sorry. I want my life to be normal.”

But they rejected his pleas, with chairman of the bench Mike Dineen saying Sygrove, who admitted assault, had a history of violence and alcohol abuse, and that previous non-custodial sentences had failed.

Mr Dineen activated 10 weeks of the 21 week suspended sentence, which was imposed in April last year following an assault in the West Riding pub in Castle Road, and added six weeks for assaulting the staff member in the casino on February 5.

Nick Tubbs, who represented Sygrove, had also pleaded with magistrates not to send his client to prison.

He said: “He has never been in custody before. He is terrified of that prospect and is full of regret.”

Mr Tubbs added that Sygrove was carrying “demons” with him which came to the fore when he consumed alcohol.

He said: “There was a dreadful incident as a 10-year-old. He was asleep upstairs and his father was killed by a family member. He had to be taken through the house with blood and whatever else. It has stayed with him.

“Ten years ago his child died unexpectedly and suddenly and he has another demon hanging over him from that.”

The incident in the casino had been “short lived”, Mr Tubbs added, and he said the injury caused had been minor.

But Mr Dineen said: “This was an assault on a bar manager who was serving the public and was trying to keep order and discipline.”