Former Exeter City player spared jail after GBH charge
A FORMER Exeter City footballer has been spared jail after he punched a man in a city centre bar.
David Noble, 30, appeared at Bristol Crown Court today and was given a 12 month community order after previously admitting causing grievous bodily harm to Tim Winterbottom at Java nightclub in Park Street on March 18.
When he last appeared in court Noble, of Sanford Place, Exeter, pleaded not guilty to assault by beating of Francisco Zaragoza and his denial was accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service.
The judge that day confirmed that the basis of Noble's plea was that he threw a punch as part of a joint enterprise, which resulted in Mr Winterbottom's broken jaw.
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Today Noble was ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work and pay compensation of £2,000 to the victim.
His honour Judge Geoffrey Mercer QC said: "I sentence you on the basis that what you did was out of character.
"But it was a disgraceful incident, totally unacceptable, drunken violence in a club, in which you punched another man and he suffered a broken jaw."
Speaking after the court hearing, Noble's barrister Mark Haslam read a statement on the player's behalf.
He said: "Mr Noble is very grateful to the judge for taking into account his version of events.
"It was an unacceptable incident which he bitterly regrets and which he can now put behind him."
Hitchin-born Noble currently plays for Rotherham United. He started his career as a trainee at Premier League side Arsenal, and also had spells at Watford and West Ham.