Paintball fury lands man in jail

Brett Ravenhill with his false leg ang tag attached
Brett Ravenhill with his false leg ang tag attached
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A VOLLEY of shots made at close range during a paintball game, led a player to attack others in a fit of rage, a court heard.

One-legged Bret Ravenhill, 32, faced three charges of assault at Sheffield Crown Court, along with a separate charge of criminal damage.

The Great Houghton man hit the headlines three years ago, when his detachable false leg was mistakenly electronically tagged for a three-months curfew order, following a drugs offence.

The shots fired at him on December 3 at Bawtry Paintball Fields, Doncaster, caused the defendant to react in “an extremely angry fashion”, said prosecution Stephanie Hollis.

Ravenhill first swung a gun at a 14-year old before knocking him down. Then, when asked to calm down by 25-year old marshal Ian Duffy, he punched his face and knocked his mask off.

Mr Duffy radioed for help as Ravenhill armed himself with a stick and ordered: “don’t do anything stupid or I’ll stab you in the neck”. A 16-year old was also punched by the livid paintballer.

The court was told how the 32-year old had lost his father six days before the attack, to leukaemia.

Judge Peter Kelsen QC also heard how on January 4, Ravenhill visited the home of a former 22-year old girlfriend. At home with her young son, she had witnessed Ravenhill beating her car with an iron bar, smashing the windows and bodywork and ultimately slashing the tyres.

Ravenhill said on his arrest that he lost his temper because of presents he had given his ex-girlfriend during their five-week relationship. He inflicted £2,346 worth of damage.

The defendant had hoped to retrieve a mobile telephone, said defence Robert Sandford. His failure to get the phone back triggered his temper, although his subsequent actions could not be justified, he conceded.

Regarding the paintball assaults, Mr Sandford said that Ravenhill had not realised two complainants were aged 14 and 16 because they wore masks. Mercifully, he said, no serious injury was sustained.

Ravenhill was experiencing the “heightened emotions that go with the bereavement of a close relative”, he said, which offered some explanation for his “short fuse”. He had genuine remorse, and gave immediate guilty pleas, In 2002 Ravenhill had been involved in a motor accident that cost him his left lower leg and the main use of an arm, added the lawyer.

Judge Kelsen said he took in to account the tragic loss of Ravenhill’s father, but told the forklift truck driver; “I’m afraid your behaviour on the paintball field was absolutely appalling”, adding that people do end up getting shot at in such establishments, and that at short range this can hurt and cause bruises. But, he added: “This does not justify what you did”.

Mr Kelsen referred to Ravenhill’s long string of previous convictions. In April last year he received a 36-week prison term for affray, suspended for two years, after a punch-up in a Wombwell take-away.

The criminal damage following his short-lived relationship was an “appalling action when you caused as much damage as you could”, Ravenhill was told.

He was handed a 12-months jail term comprising six months for the assaults with two months to run concurrently for criminal damage and six months from his former suspended sentence. He was prohibited from contacting his former girlfriend for five years.