A serving soldier who broke a man’s ankle when he punched him in the street has received a court sentence that allows him to keep the army career that “means the world to him”.

Sam Bailey, 19, was the fourth generation of his family to serve his country in the armed forces and had an exemplary record, Bradford Crown Court heard last Wednesday.

Bailey, of Steeton, but based at Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire, assaulted two men in Keighley Road, Skipton, in the early hours of September 7 last year.

He was on leave after completing his basic training as a rifleman with the Yorkshire Regiment.

He admitted common assault on Jake Parker in a takeaway when he punched him in the face, causing a cut lip and a bruise under his eye.

Bailey also pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm on Robert Collinge in the street.

Prosecuting barrister Sobia Ahmed said the soldier punched Mr Collinge once and he fell, breaking his ankle in two places.

He needed a metal plate and screws inserting into his ankle, and he was unable to stand on it for a month.

Miss Ahmed said he had since made a full recovery.

Bailey was arrested when a passing police officer saw the incident.

Michael Greenhalgh, Bailey’s barrister, said his father, a former paratrooper, was in court with other family members and his commanding officer to support him.

“The career this man has chosen means the world to him,” Mr Greenhalgh said.

Bailey was of previous good character and very sorry for what he had done.

Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC sentenced him to 80 hours of unpaid work and ordered him to pay Mr Collinge £1,000 compensation. He told Bailey: “There are few things a young man can do that earns higher respect in the eyes of sensible people than serve their country.”