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Man who blinded former Leeds Rhinos player sentenced to over ten years

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The man who attacked former Leeds Rhinos academy talent Matthew Syron has been jailed for 10 years and eight months for the offence.

Matthe Syron was in the Leeds Rhinos academy at the same time as talents such as Brad Singleton and the 32-year-old was sadly blinded by the unproved attack.

The incident happened over the festive period with Syron back in England visiting family, the ex-Rhinos man having settled down to a life in Australia.

Since the attack, he has been unable to fly home and see his young family, something he spoke about on BBC Breakfast when he made a plea for change to try and prevent further attacks like this.

Syron had spoken out strongly on the offence, starting a petition for change and justice has now been served with his attacker, Gareth Dean, sentenced to almost 11 years in prison.

Previous convictions for violent offences and the unprovoked nature of the attack on Mr Syron contributed to the large sentence, with Dean also set to serve five years on licence beyond his release.

A judge had previously stated that Dean would be set for a heavy sentence and that has now been handed down, as first reported by the BBC.

Justice served for former Leeds Rhinos man

Matty Syron was part of the Leeds Rhinos system.

Matty Syron was part of the Leeds Rhinos system when younger and has since suffered this awful glass attack. Credit: Richard Long/News Images

News of the violent attack emerged at the start of the year with the incident having happened in the early hours of December 27th, following a night out celebrating Boxing Day.

Matthew Syron was in England to celebrate with his family but the incident which saw Gareth Dean wield a glass bottle and attack Syron from behind left the former Leeds Rhinos man without sight.

Since then there has been a process to help reestablish his sight but it’s a long road, and one that renders him unable to even fly home yet to see his young family.

At the time of the incident, Leeds Rhinos posted on social media in a show of support for Matthew Syron and since then he has headed a campaign to ensure similar incidents are minimised.

That petition currently stands at over 7,000 signatures, less than 500 short of it’s target, and you can help by signing that here.

Syron is calling on pubs to stop serving in glass past 9pm, a practice that occurs in Australia, and one that prevents thousands of people from potentially suffering incidents like the one Matthew went through.

For now though the first part of justice has been served but the long road to recovery for Matthew continues and everyone at Serious About Rugby League wishes him the best on that journey.

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