Two men associated with the English Defence League have been jailed following a ‘very serious and frightening’ mass brawl at a Sheffield city centre pub.
The fight at The Howard pub on Howard Street near Sheffield railway station involved members of the EDL and Unite Against Fascism and took place in front of frightened onlookers.
It happened at around 3pm on Saturday, May 10, last year, shortly after demonstrations by both groups in Rotherham had finished.
Mark Johnson, 34, and Derek Hemphill, 47, both from Huddersfield, were jailed for 12 months and one day at Sheffield Crown Court today after previously admitting charges of affray.
They were given six months each for affray, with time added to their jail terms for both separately breaching suspended sentences for past offences.
Johnson was caught on camera punching a member of the UAF a number of times, while Hemphill was seen on video delivering several kicks.
Fellow EDL member Adam Storey, 32, from Brushfield Grove in Frecheville, Sheffield, was given a 12 month community order and will have to carry out 60 hours of unpaid work after also admitting affray. He was also ordered to pay £300 compensation to the pub.
Storey was seen on CCTV delivering stamping kicks towards a man being held by others.
Hayley Ellis, 36, from Leeds, admitted a public order offence after being caught on CCTV kicking a member of the UAF in the back. She was given a 12 month community order, will have to carry out 40 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £200 compensation.
Glasses, snooker balls and chairs were all thrown during the wider disorder, with one member of the UAF having a glass smashed over his head.
Around £1,000 of damage was caused to the pub, with fighting spilling out on to the street outside the pub.
Witnesses said it had been a scene of ‘chaos’, with members of the public left fearing for their safety as the two groups clashed.
Sheffield Crown Court heard today that the fight had been sparked by members of the UAF coming into the pub with their faces covered while a small group of the EDL, including Johnson, had been inside drinking.
One member of the UAF, who has not been identified, went up to the group and asked them to leave the pub.
Johnson, who is mixed race, claimed when he started to confront the group, one called him a ‘race traitor’ – resulting in the violence starting.
Other members of the EDL who had been by the station ran up to the pub to get involved in the fighting, which spilled out on to the street.
Ian Goldsack, prosecuting, said tables had been overthrown, with chairs, stools, glasses and pool balls all thrown within the pub.
A window was broken and hundreds of pounds worth of damage caused to walls, ceilings and two chairs.
Mr Goldsack said one witness described seeing a member of the UAF having a glass smashed over his head before being dragged outside and assaulted.
The court heard one member of the UAF called Samuel Ross suffered a gash to his head during the fighting. Ross has previously been given a conditional discharge for attempting to pervert the course of justice in relation to the case after he sent text messages to other members of the UAF asking what he should tell the police about what happened.
Sentencing, Judge Robert Moore said it had been a ‘very serious and frightening disturbance’ in which all four defendants had played a part.
But he added that problems had been caused by the UAF provoking the small number of EDL members inside the pub, resulting in the fighting starting.
Investigating officer Police Constable Chris Wright from Rotherham said: “Today marks the culmination of a lengthy investigation into violent disorder and I am pleased with the result at court today.
“Even though the demonstration in Rotherham concluded peacefully, a group of individuals seemed intent on violent disorder.
“These four endangered the safety of members of the public who were enjoying a drink in a Sheffield pub that day. It is lucky that nobody was seriously injured as a result of their reckless actions.
“I hope this case serves as a warning to those individuals who seek to engage in violent disorder that we will not tolerate this behaviour.”