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9th August 2007 12:17

Evening Post, 07 August 2007 alex.claydon@nottinghameveningpost.co.uk

A Former Notts County striker punched a female friend in the face as she drove him home, a court heard.

Mick Vinter, 53, who was at the club for eight years in the 1970s, had regularly been drinking ten pints a day before he attacked Kathleen Cox on December 10 last year.

Nottingham Crown Court heard he called Ms Cox to pick him up in Radcliffe-on-Trent during the early hours of the morning.

Andrew Tanser, prosecuting, said after Vinter got into the car and Ms Cox started to drive "he realised he had no keys and he told her to stop.

"When she refused to he punched her in the face.

"She took the keys (to the car) and asked him why he had done it and he punched her again."

Ms Cox then climbed out of the car and attempted to walk away from Vinter, who continued the attack.

Mr Tanser said: "He grabbed hold of her and he said he was going to kill her.

"She remembers being on the floor.

"He said he would put her through a hedge. He grabbed her again and she got back into the car and drove off."

The court heard Ms Cox went to hospital where she was initially told she had skull fractures. Doctors later decided she had only suffered severe bruising.

In a statement read to the court, Ms Cox said the injuries caused her some nasal problems which have now been sorted out.

But she added she still has anxiety and bursts into tears whenever she thinks about the attack.

Vinter, of Trenchard Close, Newton, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Michael Nelson, defending, said: "This is a terrible step down from the glory of a professional career as a footballer to appear in the dock.

"He concedes on this occasion that he resorted to drink.

"It is a great sorrow to him that after 53 years he finds himself before the court for such a terrible sequence of events.

"He wishes to apologise to the lady, but he knows there is little to be said.

"He is now down from ten pints a night to two pints a night."

In sentencing Vinter to eight months in prison, suspended for 18 months, the Recorder of Nottingham, Judge Michael Stokes, said: "She was plainly terrified by this sudden change in your behaviour.

"It is plain this was out of character for you and it is also clear that you have a drinking problem.

"This incident in itself was a frightening one for this innocent woman."

Vinter will further have to complete an 18-month supervision order, as well as a domestic violence abuse program and have alcohol treatment for six months.


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