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Former Army sergeant avoids jail for glassing in Catterick pub
A WAR hero's Army career was left in tatters after he smashed a glass in the face of another man during a spat over a woman.
Mark Fryer's victim suffered three cuts to his neck and cheek - one so deep that it was down to the muscle, a court was told.
Fryer - the recipient of medals for good conduct, long service and a tour of Afghanistan - quit after the December incident.
He had served for 16 years, reached the rank of Sergeant and worked as a chef at Catterick Garrison, in North Yorkshire.
His past was described as "exemplary" by his barrister when the 34-year-old appeared at Teesside Crown Court for the attack.
Dan Cordey, mitigating, told Judge Tony Briggs: "He has clearly lost that good character and that is something he feels acutely.
"He was acutely conscious that whatever happened, the Army would discipline him, and that he had brought the Army into disrepute.
"As a result, he took the view that the best course of action was to take voluntary redundancy when it was offered to him."
The court heard that Fryer, of Easson Road, Darlington, is now retraining as a gas technician and hopes to build a new career.
Judge Briggs told him: "It is very unfortunate to see someone of your character and background before the crown court.
"You reacted in circumstances where you thought you were under threat of attack and struck back against movements towards you."
The court heard that the other man - whose girlfriend worked with Fryer - may have thought something untoward had been going on.
Other drinkers and staff in The Angel Hotel in Catterick Village said the other man made a "pushing" move before the blow.
Prosecutor Graeme Gaston told the court that the pair argued and Fryer swung his the glass at the victim as they were parted.
The glass smashed on impact and the landlady, who had gone to split them up, was hit on the arm by a flying shard.
Mr Gaston said the victim was bleeding heavily and had a large gash to neck, as well as two around his left eye.
Mr Cordey described the blow as "an instinctive, split-second reaction" and said the consequences could not have been intended.
Fryer admitted unlawful wounding and battery and received a 12-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, with 100 hours' unpaid work.