A JUDGE slammed a group of men involved in a mass brawl in Bolton town centre.

Judge Timothy Stead spoke out at Bolton Crown Court during the sentencing of the group saying "It’s quite shocking in an English street and English town to behold the three of you kicking a man to the head."

Jack Booth, aged 27, of Redhill Grove, Bolton, was left with a fractured skull and a bleed on the brain which resulted in him being hospitalised for eight days after his attacker admitted kicking him in the body and head while he lay unconscious.

The court heard that the brawl involving as many as 20 people spread outside of Shots Bar & Grill’s pavement and then into the middle of Bradshawgate, around 3.30am on January 28 this year.

The three Bolton attackers appearing for sentence were Fletcher Powell, aged 19, of Le Gendre Street, George Sharp, aged 21, of Bleak Street and Simon Walsh, aged 42, of Woodvale Avenue, who all admitted involvement in the affray, as did Booth.

Prosecutor Simon Barrett said CCTV images showed that after Booth left the bar there were a number of people involved in the brawl, which seemed to have started inside the bar. Subsequently, police were able to identify the three in the dock alongside Booth.

Mr Barrett said the images showed Booth punching Sharp after there was a verbal altercation and a short time later Booth removed his T shirt and seemed to want to engage in a fight.

It was heard that Booth had been involved in a fight with an unidentified person some 20 mins before the incident.

The punch, which flattened Booth, left him unconscious in the middle of the road and it was then that Walsh kicked him twice, Sharp kicked him once and Powell kicked him twice to the head.

The defence barristers for Powell, Sharp and Walsh all said their clients had all admitted to their guilt and had all shown genuine remorse for their actions on the night in question. Walsh had even acted as a peacemaker before he lost his temper in kicking the prostrate soldier.

The defence barrister Nicholas Ross for Booth said his client could not remember much of what happened on the night but held no grudge against his attackers.

He said that Booth had served Queen and country and had been previously of impeccable character.

He said his long term memory had been affected, adding: “He is no longer able to serve in the Forces and is going to be discharged in December.as a result of his injuries he would be discharged from the Army in December.”

Delivering his verdict Judge Timothy Stead said: “The four of you came before the court pleading guilty of affray.

“On January 28 at 3.30am, there was a extraordinary scene of violence, for its scale and a lot of people present but you were the only ones that were the most criminally involved.

“It’s quite shocking in and English street in and English town to behold the three of you kicking a man to the head. Booth sustained a fractured skull and has suffered significantly from his injuries. It has not been possible to say that any one of you actually inflicted the serious or significant injury on Booth but if the evidence had been shown you had been acting together, a much more serious charge would have been heard against you.”

The judge said the three who kicked Booth could have no idea “how close you came to playing a part in a tragedy.”

All three of the attackers were given a 12 month prison sentence suspended for 18 months and fined them £400. Walsh was also given a curfew order between the hours of 6pm and 2am for 120 days. Sharp and Powell were also ordered to do 150 hours unpaid community work. Booth was ordered to undertake 80 hours community work and pay prosecution costs totalling £600.