Devon

Royal Marine Martin Jones blinded in Plymouth club attack

A Royal Marine was blinded in one eye in an attack outside a Devon nightclub, a court has been told.

Marine Martin Jones, who is in his 20s and has served in Afghanistan, was assaulted by two soldiers outside Oceana in Plymouth in December 2010.

William Press, 26, and Alexander Thompson, 25, from the Royal Logistics Corps in Chippenham, Wiltshire, were in the city on a training course.

Both deny causing grievous bodily harm with intent and grievous bodily harm.

Mr Thompson, from Ashtead in Surrey, also denies a charge of attempted grievous bodily harm, which Mr Press, from Buckley Barracks, Chippenham, has admitted.

Plymouth Crown Court was told the soldiers launched a "totally unprovoked and vicious attack" on Marine Jones as he waited at a burger van with fellow marine Ray Simmons.

The trial was shown CCTV footage of the attack, which shows the prostrate commando being punched and kicked.

Marine Simmons, who was also knocked unconscious, escaped with minor injuries but Marine Jones suffered damage to his right eye, six fractures to his eye socket and a fractured cheekbone. He was later declared medically blind in the damaged eye.

Giving evidence, Mr Jones said he and his friend, who was waiting for food, had been returning from the nightclub to the hotel they were staying in when they were attacked.

"I remember a fist hitting Ray in the face, it knocked him to the floor" he said.

"I turned to my right to see who attacked him and that is when I got a blow to the right side of my face."

He said he was also knocked to the ground, adding: "I remember one blow was a lot harder than the rest. I think that is when I lost the sight in my right eye."

'Acting together'

The soldiers, who are based at Buckley Barracks, had gone for a night out after their training course in Plymouth finished, the court heard.

The attack happened in the early hours and was halted when fellow soldiers from their unit - who were also on the training course - intervened.

Mr Thompson was detained by security staff at the scene and arrested a short time later. In interview he said the marines "threatened" him with abusive language, and said he did not know who else was involved in the attack.

Mr Press fled the scene and was arrested two months later. He refused to answer any questions when interviewed.

David Gittins, prosecuting, said there had been no justification for the attack.

"It may be that the principal offence was committed by Thompson, who was doing the kicking. But we say Press is also responsible for the injuries because they were acting together."

The trial continues.

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