Manchester

Footballer Kelvin Etuhu sentenced over casino brawl

A former Manchester City footballer has been jailed for a fight in the street which left a man with a broken jaw.

Striker Kelvin Etuhu, 22, previously admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm and affray.

He was caught on CCTV kicking Owen Fitzpatrick three times after knocking him to the ground with a punch outside Manchester's 235 Casino last February.

Etuhu, of Abbeycroft Close, Astley, Wigan, was sentenced to eight months in prison at Warrington Crown Court.

Single punch

Rico Richards, a friend of Etuhu from Peel Grove in Longsight, was also involved in the attack.

He was jailed for four years after admitting attempted grievous bodily harm, and six months, concurrently, for the theft of a watch belonging to one of the victims.

Richards was also ordered to serve six weeks in prison, consecutively, for failing to attend court on a previous occasion.

In sentencing, Judge Hale told Etuhu: "You brought yourself up by your bootstraps, you and your family, having come here from Nigeria with nothing but your talent, grit and determination.

"That is a great credit to you and your family and you have blown it."

Image caption The footballer admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm and affray

The footballer is the younger brother of Dickson Etuhu, who plays for Fulham.

His brother was in the public gallery with their mother, another brother and relatives.

Earlier, the court was told Etuhu had been released from his contract at Manchester City, in part due to the criminal proceedings.

Peter Cadwallader, for the prosecution, told the court the violence started from a "very minor" dispute inside the casino which ended when Mr Fitzpatrick, 24, and two friends were asked to leave the venue.

The three men then waited outside for Etuhu and his friend Rico Richards, 27, to emerge.

The court heard the three men confronted Etuhu as he got into his BMW car, which Richards was driving.

Etuhu finally got out of the car and launched the attack.

The court heard how the player felled Mr Fitzpatrick with a single punch and, when he was on the ground, kicked him three times.

Richards also attacked Mr Fitzpatrick, during which the latter sustained a fractured jaw.

John Broadley, defending Etuhu, said in mitigation that the footballer had not gone out that night "looking for trouble".

He said: "Whatever the minor dispute was inside the casino, the violence outside could not have been expected," he said.

"Clearly all parties outside were 'up for something'.

"What took place was a disgraceful blot on Mr Etuhu's character.

"His brothers have seen the CCTV footage and are appalled and at a loss to explain it."

Etuhu told police he had been "unusually drunk" that night.

The footballer is a graduate of the Manchester City academy and made 10 Premier League appearances for the club.

His first senior City appearance was in September 2007 before being loaned out to Leicester City towards the end of that season.

He spent last season on loan to Cardiff City, which narrowly missed out on promotion to the Premier League.

He has also been on loan at Rochdale.

Correction 25 March 2011: An earlier version of this story wrongly stated Etuhu had caused Mr Fitzpatrick's fractured jaw and attributed an incorrect charge to Richards. These have been amended.

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