A “RECKLESS” wrestler who “saw red” in a staged fight and kicked his opponent in the face while “children were crying at what they were seeing”, has been jailed.

James Riley, 33, of Prunus Close, Ferndown, pleaded guilty to and was sentenced for unlawfully and maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm to Robert Wilson at the Scout Hut in Cherry Grove, Ferndown on February 8, 2020.

The defendant, who owned and was head coach at his own wrestling company called Fightstar, was sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court on Monday.

Prosecuting, Tom Evans told the court how Riley is a former professional wrestler with more than 17 years’ experience. His wrestling name was Jay Knox.

Mr Wilson joined Riley’s eight-week training programme and in February a bout was arranged between the two.

The fights would usually be rehearsed, but because of the late notice, Mr Wilson was told Riley would call the moves out as the fight went on, with Riley scripted to win.

However, when the defendant was struck in the back, as rehearsed, he “saw red” and his “nerves lit up like a Christmas tree”.

He proceeded to kick Mr Wilson in the face “like a football”, breaking his eye sockets, jaw and teeth. Mr Wilson was rushed to A&E and required facial reconstruction surgery.

In his victim impact statement, Mr Wilson said: “What James did to me falls outside the parameters of a wrestling show. I was unrecognisable.

“He took the conscious decision to hurt me, he betrayed the trust I placed in him, I feel disgusted at what he did.

“He continued the fight despite the audience telling him to stop and children crying at what they were seeing.”

Mr Wilson said he lost his job because he couldn’t perform in a high-pressured sales environment, and he was diagnosed with PTSD.

“What happened to me was not a wrestling accident, it was not part of the show, it was assault,” he added.

Mitigating, Edward Warren said Riley was remorseful for his actions, had since retired from boxing and wanted to make sure people didn’t make the same mistake he did and called for a suspended sentence.

Despite this, Judge Stephen Climie sentenced the defendant to 21 months imprisonment and imposed a ten-year restraining order preventing him from contacting the Wilson family.

Judge Climie said: “During the course of the bout, which is largely a fictitious event in the sense that it is largely scripted, you suffered a significant degree of pain because of a pre-existing injury.

“Your reaction to that was to lose your temper and effectively take revenge. That revenge was a single blow with the foot. The consequences are dramatic.

“It is aggravated in part because you were the person in charge of this situation.

“It was a blow by a professional wrestler, I cannot allow a suspended sentence.”