Bradford Star Escapes Prison

A top rugby league player has not been jailed for "glassing" a man who was a former coach at his club. Great Britain and Bradford Bulls star Leon Pryce, 22, was ordered to complete 120 hours community service for his attack on Edward McGuinness, now working with Salford Reds.

The two men had a row in the Walkabout Bar in Bradford after the Bulls beat Wigan Warriors in September last year.

During the argument, Mr McGuinness grabbed the 6 ft 4 in player by the throat and pushed him backwards into a cigarette machine.

Teesside Crown Court was told Pryce, of Warburton Place, Wibsey, Bradford, forgot he was holding a drink and hit the former Bulls coach once in the face with the glass.

The coach suffered cuts to the ear and cheek and needed 48 stitches.

It was more than a month before the coach told the police, and the court heard Mr McGuinness had demanded ?40,000 from Pryce to avoid criminal proceedings.

At a hearing in October, Pryce admitted unlawful wounding, claiming in self-defence that he had overreacted.

Judge Tony Briggs heard on Friday there was bad feeling between the defendant's father Dennis and the victim, and Pryce had got caught up in the dispute on the night of the attack.

Dennis Pryce wrote a detailed letter to the court and the judge said the player should thank his father for helping him avoid jail.

Outside the court, Bradford Bulls spokesman Stuart Duffy, said: "We are delighted that he has not been given a custodial sentence.

"As for any further action by the club, that is confidential and the matter will be dealt with internally."