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Ex-Leeds Rhinos’ Matthew Syron campaigns for ‘glass free nightclubs’

Some nightclubs already use plastic containers for drinking, rather than glass, such as AXM in Glasgow

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Ex-Leeds Rhinos’ Matthew Syron campaigns for ‘glass free nightclubs’

Good Morning Britain hosts Richard Madeley and Ranvir Singh spoke to former Leeds Rhinos player Matthew Syron, on Thursday morning, who was glassed in the face at a Leeds nightclub in December, leaving him blind. 

His attacker, who smashed a glass into his face in a completely unprovoked attack, has this week been sentenced to a measly ten years in jail. Matthew is now campaigning for a change in the law to ban the use of glasses and bottles in nightclubs late at night.

Opening up about what he can remember from that evening, Matthew said: “I was in a bar in Leeds with all my rugby friends. It’s Christmas, I’m here to have a good time. I’m not here for long and we’re having a good night. I broke off from the group and I went to the toilet. As I came back from the toilet, I came back to the bar and stood with a friend. I was facing the bar, just talking and I felt something come off my right shoulder. I obviously turned to see what it was. An arm came over and hit me in the face with a glass. At the time, I had my eyes open so obviously the glass came over my face and into my eyes. Instantly blinding me. 

“I fell backwards. And then the attacker ran off. Then one of the boys was trying to help me saying ‘Look, Matt don’t move. You’ve got glass in your eyes’. Obviously, the panic and fear sets in. You don’t really know what’s going to happen. I got put in an ambulance. I got taken to the hospital where my mum was.”

“When I heard my mum’s voice I sort of settled down a little bit. And my mum sat in front of me and I said, ‘Look, please just tell me how bad it is.’ She was trying to hold it together and she had to start pulling glass out of my face and cleaning my eyes. My eyes were just full of blood. You can imagine for a mother sitting in front of her son, it’s tough to take and it was tough for me to take. All I kept saying to my mum was, ‘I’m never going to see the kids again. What is going on? Why would someone do this?'” 

Discussing how it felt to hear that his attacker had TEN previous convictions for FIFTEEN offences including serious violence before his attack on Matthew, he said: “He should never have been walking the streets should he really? He shouldn’t be in a bar with civilians just having a good time. Especially when he has a durg and alcohol problem, and he’s on licence. Someone should know where he is and what he is doing. He shouldn’t be doing that.” 

Since the accident, Matthew has been unable to go home to his fiance and children who live in Australia due to awaiting further surgery. Discussing how he is now campaigning for glasses and bottles to be banned in nightclubs late at night, he said:

“If you get the glass away from all drunk people, drugged people, whatever it is – just eliminate the glass and there is no glassing’s. That’s what they do in Australia. In some pubs and clubs, [they stop serving glass] at 5pm. Wherever the hot spots are, they know that there is no need for glass. All it needs is plastic, everyone is safe, and none of this will ever happen again.” 

Continuing to discuss new measures that he would like to see implemented, he said: “An ID system, where you put your driving licence in, it takes a photograph of you and everynight club will have the same one. If that person gets kicked out of there, they are then removed and logged with a 12 week ban. So, if they try to get into any other nightclub, as soon as the ID goes in, they know they are banned.” 

He continued: “This has sort of become not about me anymore. I’ve had hundreds of messages from people who have been injured in the past, their partners, their son’s have been killed. They can’t sit on this platform and say ‘We need change!’ I get up everyday and I just think ‘This can’t happen to someone else. I don’t want anyone I know or anyone to sit in the shoes that I have for the last 12 weeks. It was horrific.”

Good Morning Britain weekdays from 6am on ITV1 & ITVX

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