|Blood On The Dancefloor: Rhys Copas|
Children’s football coach and tyre fitter Rhys Copas, 28, admits he “lost his temper” during the petty bar row in the early hours and is now starting a three-and-a-half year sentence.
Copas, of Meadfoot Road, Streatham pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm, with intent, on Pritan Patel at Wimbledon’s The Watershed on March 19, last year.
CCTV footage shows Copas landing a final right-hander after a flurry of blows and an unknown male kicks the victim, who is doubled-over in an effort to protect himself.
Ironically the venue switched from glass to plastic cups to reduce the risk of such serious injuries.
In his victim impact statement Mr. Patel said: “I started a new job with an American company and had to meet its president with a black eye and scarring.
“When people take photos of me it is highlighted more and whenever I see myself in the mirror I see the scars and that is not how I want friends and family to remember me.”
Recorder Sarah Clarke QC told Copas, who was identified after a police appeal: “An argument seems to have developed over something minor and your reaction is a vicious and violent assault.
“You repeatedly punched him with the hand holding a hard perspex cup and then with your other hand.
“He suffered a laceration to his earlobe, which required fifteen stitches and that was caused by the perspex cup in your hand.
|Copas Lands Blows|
Copas had turned his life around after receiving thirty months youth custody in 2009 for his role with the notorious Terror Zone gang, which robbed security vans of nearly £1m.
He coaches Hackney Downs Rangers’ under-eight football team and Recorder Clarke told him: “It’s a tragedy you have thrown that away in the heat of the moment.
You are hardworking and an excellent role model to them and you are genuinely remorseful. It’s brave of you to admit to such a serious offence.
Copas’s lawyer Miss Cheryl Nwosu said: “He says he became angered about an issue concerning where he was standing at the bar.
“He says Mr. Patel was shouting expletives at him and Mr. Patel appears to put his hand in his drink. He lost his temper.”