• Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Soldier dad-of-five kicked man in the head outside Thirst club


Aug 5, 2022

A soldier who went to the aid of nightclub bouncers ended up kicking a reveller’s head.

Ryan Barker, a lance corporal with the Royal Signals, was out partying at the Thirst nightclub in Oxford’s city centre on September 16 last year when he launched the attack.

Oxford Magistrates’ Court was told that the victim and his friend had been refused entry to the Park End Street club.

Barker, 27, emerged from the nightclub to smoke a cigarette, saw the two men arguing with the bouncer and told them to ‘stop giving door staff a hard time’.

Concerned the confrontation could escalate, the doorman tried to take the two men away from Barker, he said in a statement.

But the soldier came from behind the bouncer and went into the road, followed by the two other men.

The eventual victim was pushed to the floor, although the doorman believed this was by another man. Once on the ground, Barker, who was wearing trainers rather than boots, kicked the prone victim in the head – rendering him unconscious.

The booted man suffered bruising and grazes to his head, prosecutor Anna Fitchett told the justices.

Appearing before the magistrates’ court, Barker, of Northallerton, North Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm.

He had three previous convictions, including one for assault by beating in 2017.

Mitigating, Angela Porter said her client knew he had acted ‘wrongly’. “He said he doesn’t know why he did it.”

Normally based in North Yorkshire, he had been in Bicester for a few weeks in connection with his work for the British Army.

He was a lance corporal in the Royal Signals and was currently responsible for preparing troops ahead of operations in eastern Europe.

His troop commander spoke in glowing terms of the ‘young and talented soldier’, saying the assault was out of character and he had shown genuine remorse for his actions.

Barker was married with three children and had two children from a previous relationship.

The magistrates imposed a four month curfew, requiring him to wear an ankle tag and be indoors from 8pm until 5am daily. He was ordered to pay £500 compensation to the victim of the assault and £180 in costs and surcharge.

Causing actual bodily harm – the charge to which Barker pleaded guilty – carries a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment, although the punishments range widely depending on the seriousness of the offence.

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.

To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward