Amateur RL player cleared of Tickle assault

An amateur RL player has been cleared of attacking and seriously injuring former Wigan Warriors' star Danny Tickle.

Friday, 31st March 2017, 4:17 pm
Updated Saturday, 8th April 2017, 10:25 pm
Danny Tickle
Danny Tickle

A Liverpool Crown Court jury took just over four hours to clear Stuart Johnson of grievous bodily harm following a re-trial.

Mr Johnson said after the hearing that he was relieved that he had been acquitted, adding: “This has been hanging over me for 18 months and I am pleased with the jury’s decision.”

He had a group of supporters in the public gallery each day of the three-day trial and they said “yes” with delight when the jury returned their verdict.

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It had been alleged by the prosecution that Mr Johnson had launched an unprovoked attack on Mr Tickle, who was then playing for Widnes Vikings, causing him to “collapse like a sack of spuds.”

But 29-year-old Mr Johnson, of Grimshaw Court, Golborne, disputed that version of events and vehemently told the court that he had acted in self-defence.

At the first trial a jury could not decide on a verdict.

Mr Johnson explained that he had ended up in Queen’s nightclub in Ashton in the early hours of November 1, 2015 with friends after a match that they had lost and Mr Tickle, also a friend, happened to be in. Later on words were exchanged in the club toilets and he said that Mr Tickle “took a swing” at him but missed.

Both men were asked to leave but Mr Johnson retaliated after Mr Tickle, whom he said was obviously drunk, got him in a headlock.

Some of the incident was caught on CCTV.

Mr Tickle did not give evidence at the court heard that he suffered a traumatic brain injury and a fractured skull after the punch and has no recollection of the incident.

He did not need surgery and and he made “a reasonably good recovery,” said Mr Riding.