A FORMER Warrington Wolves forward has been jailed after breaking a man’s jaw during an unprovoked attack in a town centre nightclub.

Mike Stewart became the first sportsman to represent both the Wire and Warrington Town when he signed for the former ahead of the 2010 Super League season.

But the former Everton youth trainee footballer was handed a year behind bars at Liverpool Crown Court last week after he admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Warrington Guardian:

The court heard on Wednesday, July 10, that the 28-year-old was using a punch bag machine in PJs bar on Bridge Street on a Tuesday night in July last year when a row erupted between one of the victim's friends and one of Stewart's.

While the victim acted as a peacemaker, the 'innocent bystander' was attacked by Stewart – a second rower who never played a game for Warrington Wolves after signing on a part-time basis from Bank Quay Bulls aged 18.

Warrington Guardian:

Stewart in action for Warrington Wolves

Prosecutor Paul Blasbery told the court: “It looked like it was kicking off and he wanted to calm the situation down.

“The next thing he remembers is waking up in an ambulance.”

In an incident captured on CCTV – which was played to the court – Stewart, of Baronet Mews in Lower Walton, punched the victim once to the right hand side of his face, knocking him unconscious and breaking his jaw in two places.

While the defendant – a fullback who was also on the books of Derby County and Gretna, and signed a scholarship deal for the Toffees in 2007 alongside future England international Jack Rodwell – got a taxi home, the victim was rushed to Aintree Hospital where he had surgery to fit titanium plates to his face the following day.

Warrington Guardian:

Stewart during his spell with Warrington Town

He later had to have a second operation in November last year due to continued pain and swelling.

Stewart, dad to a seven-year-old daughter, was previously jailed for three-and-a-half years in 2015 for causing actual bodily harm and two counts of possession of drugs with intent to supply before being convicted of harassment in 2017.

Defence barrister Daniel Thomas told the court: "This defendant has been able to put his life back on track on a number of occasions despite setbacks.

"When his time at Everton came to an end due to a career-defining cruciate ligament injury, he attempted to resurrect his career but was unable to do so.

"Despite that, he dedicated himself to getting back to football – albeit at a lower level.

"He started back at Warrington Town and managed to get himself in a position where he was selected to play for Warrington Wolves.

"Unfortunately, his mother took her own life shortly afterwards – which led him to class A drug use and his incarceration.

"Since his release, he has worked very hard to make his small business a success.

Mr Thomas added that Stewart, who walked with his leg in a brace in court, was 'genuinely remorseful and bitterly regretted his actions'.

Warrington Guardian:

PJs nightclub on Bridge Street

Sentencing, judge David Aubrey said: "You are a well built and powerful man.

"In my judgement, it was a powerful punch that caused the victim to fall to the floor and rendered him unconscious.

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"The consequence of that attack was that his jaw was fractured, with operations having taken place since.

"This has clearly had an impact on his daily life and family life.

"It's quite apparent that you are ashamed of what you did but I've come to the conclusion that, in this case, appropriate punishment can only be achieved by immediate custody."

Stewart will serve up to half his 12-month sentence in prison before being released on licence, and was also told to pay a victim surcharge.