ONE football fan has been jailed and four others involved in trouble at the Bristol derby given suspended prison sentences.
Footage of ugly scenes in and around Ashton Gate stadium on the night of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy match between City and Rovers last September was shown to a judge at Bristol Crown Court as the five men were sentenced after all pleading guilty to a violent disorder charge.
They were: James Bagnall, 25, of Shickle Grove, Bath; Lee Cousins, 41, of Soundwell Road, Kingswood; Thomas Burke, 21, of Bredon, Yate; Alexander Parsons, 21, of Walnut Close, Coalpit Heath; Jordan Lloyd, 22, of Filton Avenue, Filton.
Sam Jones, prosecuting, said yesterday: “The violence and public disorder on display that evening was among the worst that the Avon and Somerset Constabulary have ever had to police.”
He said provocation started before the match, when City fans congregated at the Miner’s Arms pub in Bedminster and Rovers fans used the Cross Hands pub, a short distance away, with trouble erupting before kick-off on Trafalgar Terrace, close to Ashton Gate.
Inside the stadium there was further trouble when rival fans infiltrated each other’s seating areas, missiles were thrown and the pitch invaded.
After the game there was large-scale disorder in Winterstoke Road.
The judge was guided through CCTV clips highlighting each defendant’s involvement.
Bagnall was filmed using and threatening unlawful violence in a car park before the game, as well as kicking a woman police officer as she was hit in the face by another fan. He was also shown ripping out a seat in the stadium and throwing it into City fans who had invaded the pitch.
Cousins, who was said to be on the police radar as a member of a risk group, was captured on film opening an emergency gate in the stadium, which contributed to a crowd surge.
Burke was filmed in the Wedlock Stand, involving himself in disorder.
Parsons was filmed verbally abusing police before the game and pushing police in the stadium.
Lloyd told a police officer where he could shove his camera, the court heard, and was filmed pushing other fans and police in the stadium.
Mitigating, Thomas Horder said of stonemason and sportsman Bagnall: “He describes his own behaviour as appalling. He wishes to express profound remorse and apologies to the woman police officer.”
He added that Cousins was also ashamed of what he had done.
Alison Gurden, for Burke and Parsons, said “very embarrassed” Burke was a youth football coach who admitted pushing and shoving.
She said of Parsons, a Rovers fan from the age of three: “He feels he has let himself down and he’s let his family down.”
Darren Burleigh, defending Lloyd, said his client kicked out towards police some distance away.
Judge Graham Hume Jones jailed Bagnall for two-and-a-half years, with a six-year Football Banning Order (FBO). Cousins was given a two-year suspended sentence, a five year FBO and told to do 300 hours’ unpaid work. Burke received a 15-month suspended sentence, with 200 hours’ unpaid work and a three-year FBO.
Parsons received a 16-month suspended sentence, with 200 hours’ unpaid work and a three-year FBO.
Lloyd received an 18-month suspended sentence with 200 hours’ unpaid work and a three-year FBO.
The judge told the men: “There was overall violent disorder to decent football fans, the elderly, young, very young and the disabled, and to the police trying to do their job of protecting the public and keeping the peace.”
Lee Cousins is an active supporter of the English Defence League and was found guilty of racially/religiously aggravated harassment last year. You can read more here