A SOLDIER said to have refused to fight in Afghanistan pleaded guilty today to being absent without leave (Awol), his legal representative said.

Lance Corporal Joe Glenton could face up to two years in prison, John Tipple said.

The 27-year-old, from York, appeared via videolink at the hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

"He has entered a guilty plea to a charge of Awol," Mr Tipple said.

"He was originally accused of desertion and other even more serious matters, which could have carried up to ten years if he was found guilty, but these have been withdrawn."

Sentencing would be at a military court in Colchester on March 5, he added.

"If there is a custodial sentence, we would hope it is a lot less than two years," Mr Tipple said.

"There is a psychiatric report which says he has post traumatic stress disorder. The report says that a lengthy jail sentence would not be conducive to his health."

Glenton joined the Army in 2004, but left in 2007 after serving with the Royal Logistic Corps in Afghanistan.

He handed himself in after two years and six days absence, during which he went to south-east Asia and Australia.

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said: "He pleaded guilty to the charge of being absent without leave, and he is due to be sentenced on March 5 at the Colchester Military Court Centre."