Anger management for junior rugby coach Gerwyn Phillips

Gerwyn Phillips Image copyright Irving of Exeter
Image caption Gerwyn Phillips's attack left his victim with permanent scarring

A rugby coach who attacked a linesman at an under-14s match in Devon has been sent on an anger management course.

Gerwyn Phillips, 41, of Jenkin Street, Mountain Ash, south Wales, was pulled off his victim by some of the young players, Exeter Crown Court heard.

He admitted assault causing actual bodily harm.

Judge Jeremy Griggs branded his behaviour "disgraceful" and jailed Phillips for six months, suspended for 18 months.

The court was told Phillips attacked Barry Mitchell during an ill-tempered match between Barnstaple RFC under-14s and the Mountain Ash junior touring side in April 2013.

Janice Eagles, prosecuting, said Mr Mitchell was assaulted when he accused Phillips of being unsporting.

Phillips squared up to the linesman and landed a punch which left Mr Mitchell with permanent scarring above his eye.

Testicular cancer

Miss Eagles said when Mr Mitchell fell to the ground, Phillips "got on top of him and punched him four or five times".

In a victim statement, Mr Mitchell said the biggest impact of the violence was on the team and the youngsters who were "sickened by what they saw".

Nicholas Jones, mitigating, claimed the Devon linesman had not been impartial, adding that some "over-the-top" comments had probably inflamed the situation.

"He is very apologetic for losing his temper," Mr Jones said, adding that his client had been diagnosed with testicular cancer and was currently living on benefits because the treatment had left him unable to work.

Sentencing Phillips, Judge Griggs said he had been in a position of authority, but instead of "providing an example to the young people" he had taken part in an assault in their presence.

The judge also ordered Phillips to pay £1,500 compensation and attend an anger management course as part of a 12-month supervision order.

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