Former Aston Villa footballer Gary Charles was jailed yesterday for a year after he drunkenly threatened a bouncer while serving a suspended sentence for a drink-fuelled assault on a woman.
Charles, a self-confessed alcoholic, had been spared a prison term, in July, after he hit a woman who joked about his career.
The 36-year-old, who lives in Stretton, Derbyshire, attacked Elizabeth Wedge at a taxi rank in the town in September 2005. He was found guilty on that occasion of punching and kicking the 42-year-old to the ground and ordered to complete 100 hours of community service, but warned he would face jail if he committed a similar offence.
But earlier this month, Charles – who also played for Nottingham Forest, Leicester City, West Ham and England during his 12-year career – admitted a public order offence at a Derby bar, where he threatened to hit a doorman.
It was the latest in a string of drink-related incidents, the Derby Crown Court heard, which included abusing police officers and another assault on a woman.
Sentencing Charles to 12 months in jail, Judge Andrew Hamilton said: "There really does come a time when the police and everyone else has to have a rest from Gary Charles. I hope it knocks some sense into his head."
After a three-day trial at Derby Crown Court in July, a jury found Charles guilty of assaulting Ms Wedge in the booking office of A2B Taxis, in Clay Cross, Derbyshire.
In a drunken rage, Charles punched his victim to the ground and kicked her after she quipped "You can’t be that good – you never played for Manchester United".
Charles had denied the attack in court, but admitted he was an alcoholic and remembered little of the night in question because he was so drunk. He was subsequently handed a suspended nine-month prison term. However, he activated that jail sentence after threatening a bouncer at his local Walkabout bar with an imaginary knife.
Hal Ewing, defending, said his client had made progress in battling his alcohol addiction, despite his latest scrape with the law.
He said: "He’s an alcoholic and has been for many years. To get himself alcohol-free will be a real struggle for Mr Charles, however, he has made great strides towards doing that. The overall picture is of somebody slowly coming to terms with an addiction, battling it and making strides forward."