A ‘peacemaker’ beat a woman over the head with a bottle after watching her take a swing for his friend.

Thomas Foster-Barnes was out of prison on licence from a 63 month sentence for armed robbery when he landed the blow outside J’s Sports Bar in the shadow of Oxford United’s Kassam Stadium on December 2, 2020.

Oxford Crown Court heard that the 30-year-old had initially played the peacemaker, trying to calm the argument, but struck out with the bottle after his victim threw a punch at his friend.

The woman suffered fractures to her skull and a burst eardrum. She said she continued to suffer hearing loss.

Jailing him for 20 months at Oxford Crown Court, Judge Michael Gledhill QC told Foster-Barnes: “You’re 30 years old. You are intelligent. You are capable of hard work.

“But you drink too much from time to time and when you are heavily intoxicated, particularly if you have taken cocaine, you behave in ways you ought not normally behave.

“The result being you have spent most of your adult life or the great part of your adult life in prison for various assaults or robbery.

“I accept you bitterly regret what you did and are very sorry for what you did. But the fact is you did it.”

Foster-Barnes was part of a group involved in a brawl with his victim, Victoria Shepherd, her husband and brother in law outside the sports bar.

Prosecutors alleged that the first group called the Shepherds ‘pikey scum’.

The Oxford man and three others in his group were formally acquitted of affray by jurors earlier this week after Mrs Shepherd, who could be seen on CCTV throwing the punch that began the brawl, said from the witness stand that she did not want to watch the video footage.

John Upton, prosecuting, told the court that Foster-Barnes was shown on the CCTV pulling an object – later confirmed to be a bottle – and striking Mrs Shepherd over the head with it.

The defendant’s barrister, Peter du Feu, said his client had been out on licence for around 20 months when he dealt the blow.

He later told his probation officer he was under investigation by the police and, as a result, was recalled to prison to serve the remainder of a 63 month sentence imposed at Aylesbury Crown Court in 2015 for armed robbery.

Mr du Feu said Foster-Barnes was ‘bitterly ashamed’ of what he did. He had been ‘fairly proud’ of the time he’d managed on post-sentence supervision licence and was motivated to change his ways. “He is 30, he has spent more of his adult life in prison than out. Drink is the problem.”

Foster-Barnes, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to causing grievous bodily harm.