Rugby captain guilty of grievous bodily harm


A 29 year-old man was today convicted of wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm following an incident in Henley-on-Thames on 21 December 2008.

Matthew Payne is the captain of the first team at Henley Rugby Club. He was found not guilty of wounding or causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

The jury at Oxford Crown Court heard how he had subjected one of the doormen at the White Lotus Sports Bar, David Jones, to an unprovoked attack in which he bit off the lower part of his left ear.

The incident occurred because Jones had refused Payne entry to the nightclub on account of his drunk and aggressive behaviour.  The bitten off ear was later retrieved from the roadside but could not be sewn back on.

CPS Thames Valley Crown Advocate Andrew Morgan said, "This was an unprovoked and vicious attack on a nightclub doorman carrying out his job on a busy weekend night in Henley town centre.

"As captain of the Henley Hawks 1st XV, Matthew Payne was supposed to be a leader on the field and a role model off it; however his drunken and violent behaviour on this night showed that he was anything but.  Despite having undergone surgery, Mr Jones retains the scars of this disfiguring injury and will have to live with the consequences of Mr Paynes actions on that night."

Matthew Payne will be sentenced on 23 March.