Relief for Grays captain cleared of assault

A RELIEVED footballer walked free from court after being cleared of deliberately breaking his opponent's jaw during a heated match.

Grays Athletic defender Jamie Stuart, 31, admitted fracturing York City striker Chris Beardsley's jaw in two places after he elbowed him in the face during a league match at Grays New Recreation Ground in Bridge Road, but insisted it had been an accident.

At Basildon Crown Court on Friday the jury acquitted Stuart of causing Mr Beardsley grievous bodily harm on September 22 last year.

Speaking after the hearing the Grays captain, who has played for Southend and England under 21s, said: "It is a huge relief for my partner and my children. It has been hard for me but it is harder for them.

"Now I can just get on with playing football and doing my job.

"I always said at the beginning that it was an accident and I haven't lied. I still make that claim.

"I am sorry for the injury I caused Mr Beardsley but I am so glad the trial is over so I can now move on."

Just hours after the first day of the trial Stuart played in a conference clash against Crawley Town at Broadfield Stadium in which Grays Athletic were defeated 2-1.

Stuart, who has been playing professional football since the age of 15 and was signed by Charlton at the age of 17 gave evidence and said Mr Beardsley, 24, had been tugging at his shirt and was hurt when he threw his arm back in an effort to break free.

The father of two, of Knole Gate, Sidcup, denied Mr Beardsley's claims that before the incident during the 19th minute of the match he struck him across the shoulders, stood on his feet and kicked him in his Achilles heel.

Mr Beardsley, who needed three metal plates inserted into his jaw, also gave evidence and admitted he didn't actually see Stuart strike him and could only recall feeling a sharp pain to his jaw before collapsing on the pitch in agony.

Comments (6)

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4:20pm Fri 5 Sep 08

noddyinnapa says...

Another thug walks free

Hurrah for justice
Another thug walks free Hurrah for justice noddyinnapa

5:27pm Fri 5 Sep 08

A Referee says...

I can not believe this hooligan has been allowed to get off with this!
Had a fan committed such an assault within a football ground he would have done time for GBH AND be banned from all football grounds for a minimum of 5 years! This animal has escaped punishment & is still allowed to make his living from football, I bet his Mum's proud of him (not!)
I can not believe this hooligan has been allowed to get off with this! Had a fan committed such an assault within a football ground he would have done time for GBH AND be banned from all football grounds for a minimum of 5 years! This animal has escaped punishment & is still allowed to make his living from football, I bet his Mum's proud of him (not!) A Referee

5:48pm Fri 5 Sep 08

James F says...

Mr Stuart has been very lucky I feel.
Was at the game and did not see the incident.
Jamie has always been a good servant to Grays Ath and is one of the players that really appreciates the fans traveliing home and away. He has collected money for computers for schools, and is very helpfull with the youth teams I hear, for that I will give him the benefit of the doubt.
Referee, York, Not trying to make excuses but Jamie's mother passed away, around the time that the incident happened
Mr Stuart has been very lucky I feel. Was at the game and did not see the incident. Jamie has always been a good servant to Grays Ath and is one of the players that really appreciates the fans traveliing home and away. He has collected money for computers for schools, and is very helpfull with the youth teams I hear, for that I will give him the benefit of the doubt. Referee, York, Not trying to make excuses but Jamie's mother passed away, around the time that the incident happened James F

7:45pm Fri 5 Sep 08

A Referee says...

James F wrote:
Mr Stuart has been very lucky I feel.Was at the game and did not see the incident.Jamie has always been a good servant to Grays Ath and is one of the players that really appreciates the fans traveliing home and away. He has collected money for computers for schools, and is very helpfull with the youth teams I hear, for that I will give him the benefit of the doubt.Referee, York, Not trying to make excuses but Jamie's mother passed away, around the time that the incident happened
Sorry James, I've no sympathy for him & it's certainly no excuse. When my Mum died I took a few days off work until I felt able to work again, I didn't go to work & commit GBH on a competitor!
[quote][bold]James F[/bold] wrote: Mr Stuart has been very lucky I feel.Was at the game and did not see the incident.Jamie has always been a good servant to Grays Ath and is one of the players that really appreciates the fans traveliing home and away. He has collected money for computers for schools, and is very helpfull with the youth teams I hear, for that I will give him the benefit of the doubt.Referee, York, Not trying to make excuses but Jamie's mother passed away, around the time that the incident happened[/quote]Sorry James, I've no sympathy for him & it's certainly no excuse. When my Mum died I took a few days off work until I felt able to work again, I didn't go to work & commit GBH on a competitor! A Referee

8:22pm Fri 5 Sep 08

James F says...

Agree, and like I said before its no excuse, and there is no sympathy required
At the end of the day he has been tried in a court of law and has been found not guilty. Both parties had a fair trial and its time to move on.
I am sure if anyone out there had better evidence than what was presented they should have come forward
Agree, and like I said before its no excuse, and there is no sympathy required At the end of the day he has been tried in a court of law and has been found not guilty. Both parties had a fair trial and its time to move on. I am sure if anyone out there had better evidence than what was presented they should have come forward James F

12:46am Sat 6 Sep 08

Carol D says...

Jamie Stuart is no hooligan. He has had a fair trial and the jury quite clearly believe that he did not intend to break Mr. Beardsley's jaw. To be convicted of GBH there has to be intent. It's not a case of a thug/hooligan walking free. These things happen in football, it is a physical game, and in this instance it was unfortunate that Mr. Beardsley's jaw was broken. We're not talking tennis here where the only physical contact between the players is when they shake hands.
Jamie Stuart is no hooligan. He has had a fair trial and the jury quite clearly believe that he did not intend to break Mr. Beardsley's jaw. To be convicted of GBH there has to be intent. It's not a case of a thug/hooligan walking free. These things happen in football, it is a physical game, and in this instance it was unfortunate that Mr. Beardsley's jaw was broken. We're not talking tennis here where the only physical contact between the players is when they shake hands. Carol D
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