Derbyshire soldier jailed after “kicking man’s head like a football”

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A South Normanton soldier with an exemplary record of service has been given an eight-year jail sentence for a ‘horrific’ attack on an innocent man.

Corporal Daniel White, 26, of Princess Avenue, completed four tours of duty in Afghanistan, fighting the Taliban on a daily basis, while serving with the 2nd Battalion, Mercian Regiment.

His commanding officer, Major Thomas Kelly, described him as ‘utterly fearless’, leading by example and looking destined for future promotion as a warrant officer.

But White appeared for sentence at Nottingham Crown Court after he admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Lee Barnsdale in Nottingham city centre.

CCTV footage seen by the court showed White hurl Mr Barnsdale to the ground.

Then, as Mr Barnsdale lay effectively unconscious, White punched him more than a dozen times as well as repeatedly kneeing him and kicking him to the head.

Judge Michael Pert QC said the violence of the attack was ‘greater than I have seen in a number of street murders’.

He added that at one stage White, like a 1950s safari hunter, used his mobile phone to take a photo of himself with his prone foot on Mr Barnsdale’s body.

Prosecuting, Sarah Munro said just after 11 pm on December 17 last year, Mr Barnsdale was walking along Pelham Street, Nottingham, to the Old Market Square, minding his own business.

Someone ran up behind him and struck him in the face, the court heard. The next thing he remembered was waking up in the Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham.

Miss Munro said White had been to the German Christmas market with a friend and had they had drunk beer and wine.

White was pushed over by a man who ran off and he attacked Mr Barnsdale through being ‘wound up’.

One witness claimed Mr Barnsdale’s head was kicked as if it was a football. Another expressed alarm at the ferocity and speed of the attack.

Miss Munro said Mr Barnsdale discharged himself from hospital two days later. But he had suffered several fractures and bleeding to the brain.

He had trapped nerve muscles in his left eye and its sight was deteriorating, while the left-hand side of his face had dropped.

Ian Way, mitigating, told the court that during White’s service in Afghanistan, he had lost six friends and comrades to roadside explosive devices between 2006 and 2009.

He told the court that White’s hitherto exceptional military areer was now over after nearly ten years with the regiment. “He is full of shame for his conduct,” said Mr Way.

Passing sentence, Judge Pert said: “It has not been suggested to me that there is any mental trauma from your military service which might have explained your actions that night.”