A soldier who launched a vicious bottle attack on a young man at a teenager’s house party has been spared jail because he is ‘very likely’ to be deployed with the Army.
Drunk Cameron Bailey jumped his victim after he and a military colleague waited outside the party, from which they’d been ejected following a row inside.
The 22-year-old then boasted about the beating on Snapchat as he bragged about hitting him with a bottle.
But his lawyer said that his job as a tank driver means he is more needed in combat than some service personnel and therefore likely to see action.
Today senior officers appeared alongside Bailey’s parents after he admitted assault and section 20 wounding. His accomplice, infantryman Harry Bird, also admitted assault.
Prosecutor Rob Hall told Manchester Crown Court the incident occurred on April 7 last year while the pair were home on leave from their Wiltshire base.
They attended the house party of a 17-year-old girl in Eccles, Greater Manchester, while her parents were away on holiday.
Bailey had hoped to rekindle a romantic involvement with a girl who was in attendance but was disappointed to find she had a boyfriend.
He had too much to drink and made some remarks towards the couple which caused some ‘ill will’, Mr Hall said.
The argument came to the attention of the teenage girl hosting the party and she asked Bailey to leave.
The exchange escalated with Bailey ‘grabbing the victim by the throat with force,’ Mr Hall said.
Bailey and Bird agreed to leave the house, but they did not leave the area, the court heard.
At around 1.15am, the victim shut down the party and asked everyone to go home. As the young man who had exchanged words with Bailey left the house he was quickly ‘set upon’, Mr Hall said.
Bailey hit him around the head with a glass bottle causing it to smash. The soldier then hit the victim a second time with what remained of the broken bottle, causing a gash to the side of his head.
As the pair ‘scuffled on the ground’, Bird appeared and joined in the attack, the court heard. The victim was taken to hospital where he required four stitches to the head.
Mr Hall told the court that by the time police attended, Bailey had posted a video on Snapchat bragging of having ‘bottled’ the victim.
The video ‘assisted police with identification’, and Bailey was arrested the same day. In a victim impact statement, the young man said he has been left with a visible scar and has been forced to change jobs because he fears encountering the pair again.
Daniel Lister, defending Bailey, told the court the attack was an ‘isolated incident’ borne out of ‘drunken stupidity’.
He told Judge Elizabeth Nicholls that an immediate custodial sentence would lead to his client being immediately discharged from the Army.
Mr Lister said that this would mean the forces losing a qualified driver of the Warrior armoured vechicles used in combat.
‘Regardless of the sentence Your Honour imposes, he will face disciplinary proceedings,’ he said.
‘A senior commander will decide whether to discharge him. But I’m told he is a valuable soldier due to his role as a “Warrior driver”. That qualification is a rare one and consequently he is very likely to be deployed.’
Mr Lister said Bailey’s commanding officer Lieutenant Burrows, who appeared in the public gallery, reported that his behaviour in the Army had been ‘exemplary’.
The soldier has also recently learnt that his grandfather has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, the court heard.
Bailey’s mother therefore feared ‘losing two members of the family in a week’, Mr Lister added.
Judge Nicholls said she had heard ‘significant mitigation’ and sentenced Bailey to eight months in jail, suspended for 14 months.
Bailey, from Eccles, must also pay the victim £800 in compensation. Bird, from Stockport, was fined £250.
Judge Nicholls told the pair: ‘You need to look at your conduct and not let yourselves, your family and the Army down in the future.’