July 20, 2014
A former Newcastle United prospect has been given a suspended prison sentence after knocking a man out from behind in an unprovoked city centre attack.
Andy Mogwo, a former Toon youth and reserve teams defender, punched Finn McCullough to the ground during late night violence in Newcastle.
A court heard Mogwo hit the victim with a “full-blooded punch” from behind as he walked away, causing him to fall forwards onto the pavement and crack his face.
The 24-year-old lost two front teeth, suffered damage to two others and was left with cuts to his lip and a permanent scar to his chin.
Mogwo, 21, who had breached his bail by moving to London from Kenton, Newcastle, appeared in the dock at Newcastle Crown Court.
In the morning he pleaded not guilty to the assault and was told he could have been jailed for changing addresses without permission.
His legal team had been unable to get instructions from him as letters were being sent to the Kenton address and he had moved down south to try to win a contract with Bishop Stortford.
Judge James Goss ordered Mogwo not to leave the court building before speaking to his lawyers and listed a trial for August.
However after speaking to his barrister, Mogwo decided to plead guilty after lunch.
As he was given a suspended prison sentence with unpaid work, he was told only his guilty plea had saved him from an immediate spell behind bars.
Judge James Goss QC said: “He has saved himself from going to prison by seeing good sense today.”
In deciding whether to impose unpaid work and compensation, Judge Goss asked Tony Hawks, defending, about his client’s football career.
The judge said: “I know he is hoping to get involved in football again. They train one or two days a week and play one or two days a week and have a lot of spare time.
“Has he got a contract with Bishop Stortford?”
Mr Hawks replied: “No but he hopes to get one. Like a lot of other players he is waiting to see what comes along. He is hoping to play for Bishop Stortford.”
Judge Goss said: “I don’t know what league they play in.”
Mr Hawks said: “The Conference. He was on the books at Newcastle.”
The judge responded: “I know they are Premier League.”
Mr Hawks said: “He was thought to be temperamentally unsuitable, a judgement which may have been well-founded.”
In a later exchange, as the judge set the compensation figure at £3,000, he said: “When you think what some footballers get per week, and I’m not saying he is on that level, but £3,000 to some people is a lot of money.”