Lincolnshire cricketer left team-mate with fractured eye socket after throwing table at him

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A talented Lincolnshire cricketer who caused a “deeply unpleasant” eye injury to a team mate when he threw a table across the living room of their club flat was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.

Adam Shepherd, 25, left Grantham team mate Daniel Freeman, 21, with a fracture to his right eye socket and a potentially sight threatening injury after throwing the table in a reckless rage, a court heard.

Lincoln Crown Court was told Shepherd had been given a “golden opportunity” by Grantham Cricket Club to resume his career after serving a previous jail sentence for harassment and assault.

But on the same day Shepherd was released from prison he got in to an argument with Mr Freeman after returning to a riverside flat rented by Grantham Cricket Club following a drinking session together.

The court heard how the incident happened after Mr Freeman appeared to taunt Shepherd about his recent criminal convictions.

Phil Howes, prosecuting, said the team’s head coach Mark Fell was called to the flat in Grantham’s Maltings development.

Mr Howes told the court: “At some stage the coach of Grantham, Mark Fell, was called to the scene to act as a peacemaker, but he was unable to prevent Shepherd from throwing the table which struck his friend.”

The court heard Mr Fell took the injured Mr Freeman from the flat.

His injuries included a fracture to his right eye socket, a significant sight threatening injury to his right eye and cuts around his eye.

Mr Freeman was later examined by a consultant eye surgeon who concluded he had made a good visual recovery with regards to distance vision but that he may suffer some difficulties with reading.

In a victim impact statement which was read out in court Mr Freeman said he was now more “introverted and quiet,” and also worried about the next time he would see Shepherd.

Shepherd pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm to Mr Freeman on January 27 this year.

At the time of the offence he was on prison licence after being sentenced to 22 months imprisonment for offences of harassment and assault in 2016, the court was told.

Mark Watson, mitigating, said Shepherd had thrown away his chance of resuming his cricket career in a “moment of madness.”

“There was a degree of provocation and a lack of premeditation in this case,” Mr Watson told the court.

“He is a talented cricketer and was about to start a season in the Lincolnshire Premier League, and he was looking forward to putting his past behind him.

“These two were friends, it erupted quickly because of things said to him. But for a few seconds he would be playing cricket this Summer.”

Passing sentence Judge Simon Hirst told Shepherd he had been given a “golden opportunity” by Grantham Cricket Club.

“Mr Fell tried to split the argument up, that happened, but you continued with this,” Judge Hirst said.

“You picked up a coffee table and threw it across the room, striking Mr Freeman in the eye.”

The judge accepted Shepherd had only thrown the table in a reckless manner but added: “It was a deeply unpleasant injury.”

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