Player jailed after bashing coach with batteries

AN IPSWICH rugby league player is behind bars for beating his coach with a sock filled with batteries.

Aaron Geoffrey Bennett pleaded guilty this week in Ipswich District Court to assault occasioning bodily harm while armed over the January 30 attack.

The victim, former Swifts rugby league coach Lee Addison, was believed to have been in a relationship with Bennett's ex-girlfriend.

When Bennett found out about the relationship the 23-year-old said he "lost control".

Prosecutor Lara Soldi said Bennett fashioned a homemade weapon - a sock that contained two D-cell batteries.

He followed Mr Addison into a tunnel, which connected the Swift's clubhouse in Purga with the sporting field.

Without warning, Bennett struck the 35-year-old in the head with the battery-sock combination, which knocked him to the ground.

Mr Addison momentarily lost consciousness as Bennett continued to hit him with a "constant barrage" of blows.

During the attack, Mr Addison managed to push Bennett to the ground and call for help.

A person at the club intervened and prevented the sock-wielding player from attacking his coach again.

Mr Addison was taken to hospital and suffered injuries that included a black eye and multiple bruises to his head, face and elbow.

Ms Soldi added that Bennett had previously been convicted of three counts of assault occasioning bodily harm in company in 2009.

Defence barrister Andrew West said Bennett had been suffering depression and stress and was intoxicated at the time.

Mr West said Bennett had a good work history and had been receiving treatment for his emotional instability.

However Judge Sarah Bradley said Bennett's anxiety and depression issues were no excuse for his attack.

"You acted like a cowardly, brutal thug that day," she told Bennett.

"That sort of repeated, unprovoked violence has to be viewed very seriously by the courts and the community."

Judge Bradley sentenced Bennett to 18 months in jail but ordered that he be released on parole after four months.



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