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Ravnenscliffe teenager's dreams of being an RAF pilot shattered
A teenager told today how his dream of being an RAF pilot had been grounded after a vicious attack left him scarred for life.
Craig Spiers, 19, who will have metal plates and bolts in his forehead for the rest of his life, welcomed the jailing of thug Ryan Bennett, who had fractured his skull in an unprovoked attack.
Mr Spiers, of Roundwood Avenue, Ravenscliffe, Bradford, underwent more than three hours of surgery at Bradford Royal Infirmary after the attack in December. After Bennett was imprisoned for 12 months, Mr Spiers said he hoped he could now come to terms with what had happened and move on.
“He deserves to go to prison,” he said. “There was no reason at all for him doing what he did.
“But it has had a big impact on my life and my future.”
Bradford Crown Court yesterday heard how Ryan Bennett, 18, butted Mr Spiers in the face at a social night held at Victoria Rangers Rugby Club in Harrogate Road, Bradford.
Bennett, of Stoney Lane, Eccleshill, Bradford, who pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding, carried out the attack when he saw Mr Spiers talking to his girlfriend, Katie Hopkins. Prosecutor Philip Adams told the court Bennett and Miss Hopkins had fallen out during the evening.
At 11.30pm, Bennett – who was “upset and agitated” – saw Miss Hopkins and Mr Spiers talking in a corridor.
“The defendant head-butted Mr Spiers in the face. It was a forceful blow that caused him to stagger backwards,” Mr Adams said. Mr Spiers went home feeling unwell and was taken to hospital in the night. He had suffered a displaced fracture to the frontal bone of his skull.
Six days after the attack, Mr Spiers underwent surgery when three metal plates and two bolts were inserted into his head. He needed 52 stitches and is scarred for life, the court heard.
Bennett’s solicitor advocate, Julian White, conceded it was a “horrendous injury”. But it was a single butt and not a sustained attack, he said.
Judge Jonathan Rose told Bennett “jealousy burned inside him” when he attacked Mr Spiers.
The court heard Mr Spiers had been out socially just once since the attack. He would need to wear a head guard to play any contact sport.
Sentencing Bennett to 12 months’ detention in a young- offender institution, the judge said “wanton violence” would be dealt with severely by courts. After the case Mr Spiers told the Telegraph & Argus he had studied at college for two and a half years and gained an A-level and an AS, which would have enabled him to join the RAF.
He said: “I had planned to join as an officer and take another A-level in the RAF. That would have enabled me to be a pilot, which is what I wanted to do.
“If I were to apply now I don’t know whether I would pass the medical. The doctors told me I had to wait six months before doing anything. If the RAF knock me back I don’t know what I will do – I will have wasted all that time.”
Mr Spiers said he still suffered headaches after the attack and his head had been opened up from ear to ear for the operation
- Read the full story in Wednesday's T&A