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EDL protest in Walsall

EDL protest in Walsall

Thirty two men will appear in court this week to be sentenced after violence erupted at an English Defence League demonstration in Walsall last year.

Over a period of four days the defendants will all appear at Wolverhampton Crown Court for their final hearing, after being convicted of violent disorder earlier this year.

The men were arrested and charged following an investigation by West Midlands Police Force CID following violence in Walsall town centre on September 29, 2012.

A series of operations were staged across the country to arrest people suspected of involvement in the disorder, which broke out when members of the protest group tried to break through police lines.

A further 17 men have already appeared before magistrates where they have been sentenced for crimes ranging from public order offences to criminal damage.

Det Chief Insp Pete Dunn, who led the police investigation into the disorder, said: “The majority of the people who visited Walsall to protest that day were law-abiding.

“However a small number of people decided to get involved in a few ugly scenes when protestors began to try and break through police lines and throw missiles.

edl-in-walsall-protests-by-the-english-defence-league

“Thirty people were arrested at the time, and we continued to arrest people from as far and wide as Dorset and County Durham over the weeks and months that followed.

“This week sees the culmination of a detailed, painstaking investigation by a dedicated team of officers who were determined to bring those people to justice.

“We recovered many hours of CCTV, mobile phone and police footage which led to more than 450 hours of detective work to identify those responsible for bringing violence to the streets of Walsall.

“These court proceedings underline the fact that we will pursue people who commit crime in the West Midlands, no matter how long it takes, and bring them to justice.”

Chief Supt Dave Sturman, commander for Walsall and in charge of the operation on the day, added: “We recognise that the people of Walsall were both concerned and inconvenienced on the day and we hope that residents are reassured by our continuing efforts to bring those involved in disorder in the town to justice.

“The message to people intent on bringing violence to the streets of the West Midlands when attending such events is clear – we will not tolerate disorder or any form of anti social behaviour.

“The force takes a hard line against anyone who comes to the West Midlands and creates disorder, whether it be in the name of an organisation or just for devilment.

“If you commit such crimes we will track you down and ultimately you will be brought before the courts.”

Despite violence breaking out at the EDL demonstration, only a small number of protesters and police officers sustained minor cuts and bruises.

There were no serious injuries.

All 32 men will appear before Wolverhampton Crown Court to be sentenced between Monday, December 16-Thursday, December 19.

Birmingham Mail

Walsall EDL demo convictions

More EDL demo Walsall convictions.

Yet more…

Lee wells 1

A HOMELESS man attacked a worker going home from a Christmas party so severely his face had to be reconstructed.

Nineteen-year-old Lee Wells, who was on bail for brandishing a hammer 10 days earlier, set on 42-year-old Robert Johnson outside the YMCA hostel in Harding Road, Hanley.

The incident occurred in the early hours of December 6 last year as Mr Johnson made his way from The Quality Hotel in Trinity Street.

He was left with a fractured jaw and eye sockets and had to undergo four operations to have plates inserted into his face.

Wells, of no fixed address, who pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm, was sentenced at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court yesterday.

Paul Spratt, prosecuting, said: “Mr Johnson left the Quality Hotel in Hanley some time after midnight.

“He had no other recollection of the events that occurred except that he was the subject of assault leading to substantial injuries.

“On returning home he realised he had forgotten his keys and left them at the Quality Hotel.”

Mr Johnson then returned by taxi to the hotel, where he collected his keys and set off home again.

Mr Spratt added: “It was at the point that he was walking back from Hanley town centre past the YMCA that the attack occurred. He says he was attacked but has no recollection of the attack as it occurred.”

The court heard Mr Johnson had been left with headaches, numbness in his face and difficulty eating as a result of the incident.

At the time of the attack, Wells was on bail for an incident on November 25 when he was caught with a hammer in Harding Road. On that occasion, he was in the company of two other men who were found with an African-style club and a knife.

He tried to prevent arrest by hiding in a ground floor storeroom of the hostel but was discovered.

Sarah Badrawy, defending, said Wells had experienced a very difficult upbringing. She said: “He had a number of adverse events at a crucial stage in his life.

“He suffered from rejection from both his family and rejection from his foster family.

“It is at that stage he found himself of no fixed abode. He spent his life moving from different friends’ sofas and homeless hostels.”

Referring to two psychiatric reports, Judge Granville Styler said Wells was “very dangerous young man” but said he was limited in his sentencing options.

He imposed a 12-month jail sentence for possessing an offensive weapon and affray, and 30 months consecutively for the grievous bodily harm.

He said: “The public should know that the psychiatric report says he poses a high risk of serious harm to others.”

Stoke Sentinel

Geoffrey Ryan

Geoffrey Ryan



A man launched a smoke grenade into a mosque and threatened to kill Muslims after he “snapped” following his brother’s death.

Geoffrey Ryan, 44, approached the Al-Falah Braintree Islamic Centre, in Silks Way, Braintree, armed with two knives on the evening of May 22.

He was jailed for nine months on Monday after admitting two charges of having a bladed object in a public place and one charge of affray.

Construction worker Ryan, of Brick Kiln Way, Braintree, threatened centre member Saruk Miah, causing him to fear for his safety.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard Mr Miah had arrived at 7pm, half an hour before evening prayers, to prepare himself a snack.

He had been in the centre for about three or four minutes when he heard an explosion, caused by a yellow smoke grenade thrown into the building.

Ryan then shouted out “I am here to kill you”

The court heard Ryan’s brother had committed suicide a week prior to the incident.

Judge Anthony Goldstaub QC said: “It was an attack both racially and religously motivated and showing hatred on both counts and it is the kind of thing that won’t be tolerated in this country.”

Speaking after the case, Dc Andy Young, of Essex Police, said: “The incident that occurred at the Al-Falah prayer centre caused unnecessary fear, not only for the people who witnessed it, but also local residents at a time when emotions were already running high due to the death of Drummer Lee Rigby in London.

“Ryan’s imprisonment should serve as a warning to others who intend to cause fear and unrest in the community for their own agendas, whether personal or not.

“I would like to thank the members of the Al-Falah prayer centre for their support during the investigation and for their continued efforts in which they have hosted local events intended to increase understanding and tolerance within a multi-cultural community.”

Braintree and Witham Times

Links to EDL   Islamophobia-Watch

The leader of the extreme Right-wing English Defence League was charged today with assaulting a police officer after clashes with Islamic protesters.

Stephen Lennon, 27, of Luton, was arrested during a clash with members of Muslims Against Crusades who burned poppies during the two-minute silence in Kensington yesterday.

The father of two, also known as Yaxley-Lennon and Tommy Robinson, was one of six EDL members arrested. He will appear at West London magistrates’ court on November 22.

Four men, aged 41, 42, 19 and 18, were held for affray and another for possession of Class A drugs. Two Muslims, aged 30 and 25, were arrested for public order offences.

Members of Muslims Against Crusaders set fire to a large poppy as the clock struck 11am yesterday and chanted “British soldiers burn in hell” during their protest in Exhibition Road near the Royal Albert Hall.

A policeman was taken to hospital with a head injury as he tried to keep separate about 50 men linked to EDL and the Muslims.

Demonstrator Abu Rayah, from east London, said yesterday: “We’re here because people talk about all this patriotism but people in Afghanistan want Sharia and the soldiers keep dropping cluster bombs on our people and it’s like they just want us dead. We want British and American troops out of Afghanistan now.”

All those arrested were bailed pending further inquiries until a date in December.

London Evening Standard

Andrew Currien
Andrew Currien, a key member of the EDL leadership bodyguard team from Lanesfield near Wolverhampton, was one of six men convicted in 2009 after a 59 year old man was crushed to death by a car following a violent brawl in an apparently racist killing. He was jailed for 18 months after admitting affray.

Express & Star

Hope Not Hate

 

 

AN anti-paedophile campaigner has been jailed for throwing punches and kicks in a violent clash between football supporters in the city centre.

Christopher Wittwer was one of seven men sentenced at Exeter Crown Court yesterday after the group of hooligans went after Huddersfield Town supporters in May last year.

Wittwer, who set up a controversial anti-paedophile website naming convicted child sex offenders last summer, was jailed for 10 months.

Violence flared while the High Street was full of shoppers, including parents who had to shield their toddler in a push chair.

Wittwer, 35, of Oakmead, Aylesbeare; Darren Bolt, 24, of Salisbury Road, Exmouth; Neil Vooght, 35, of Hazelwood Park, Dawlish, and Neil Cartwright, 37, of Lapwing Close, Cullompton, all admitted affray.

Bolt, Vooght and Cartwright were also jailed for 10 months but the term was suspended for two years.

They were ordered to carry out 220 hours of unpaid work each.

Brendan Daniel, 24, of Leypark Road, Exeter; Mark Langdon, 20, of Austin Close, Exeter, and Joseph Foxworthy, 25, of Old Vicarage Road, Exeter, admitted public order offences. They were due to be given community orders with unpaid work.

Prosecutor Richard Crabb told the court the group were “looking for a violent confrontation” on May 8, last year, the day of a home game between Exeter City and Huddersfield Town.

He said a group of Huddersfield fans had been having a “quiet drink” in The Ship Inn, but most had left.

At 2pm, a group of 25 Exeter supporters gathered outside the pub shouting and swearing.

Some went inside but on realising the rivals had left walked up the High Street where they found a group of four Huddersfield fans.

Wittwer and Vooght were aiming punches and kicks at the rivals. They also chased them down the road. Bolt was seen throwing punches and Cartwright kicking out.

Mr Crabb said: “Members of the public were moving out of the way and some were protecting a toddler in a push chair.”

When police arrived the group fled but these defendants were identified.

Mr Crabb said the violence was “nipped in the bud by the prompt arrival of police” but had the potential to be much worse. The incident was clearly caught on CCTV.

Wittwer previously received a banning order for three years for threatening an Aldershot Town supporter in Sidwell Street, in 2004. He breached the order twice and was also convicted of an affray in a nightclub, in 2007.

The court was told that Vooght, Bolt and Daniel had no previous convictions.

Cartwright and Foxworthy both have two dissimilar previous convictions and Langdon has two public order offences on his record, from 2009.

Stephen Nunn, mitigating for Wittwer, said he admitted his guilt straight away and wanted to be sentenced back in February. He told the court that Wittwer, who has an ex-wife and child who live abroad, rarely goes out now and has not offended since the incident.

He conceded that he “had the disadvantage of having two things on his record that put him in a difficult situation.”

Mitigating for Vooght, Nigel Wraith said the offence was “completely out of character”.

For Bolt, Cartwright, Daniel, Foxworthy and Langdon, Kevin Hopper said they should get credit for their guilty pleas.

Judge Phillip Wassall told Wittwer he had a “dreadful record for football-related violence.”

They were all given football banning orders preventing them from attending games for six years.

This is Plymouth

A PAIR of women have been warned they may face jail after admitting involvement in a religiously-motivated assault on a Kurdish woman at a city centre takeaway.

Hayley Wells, 28, and Kelly Watterson, 30, were charged in relation to an attack on Sawda Kurdo at Istanbul Kebab in Exeter Street on August 31, 2011. The pair were due to stand trial, but changed their pleas to guilty at Plymouth Crown Court today.

  1. Hayley Wells, 28, and Kelly Watterson, 30, were charged in relation to an attack on Sawda Kurdo at Istanbul Kebab in Exeter Street

    Hayley Wells, 28, and Kelly Watterson, 30, were charged in relation to an attack on Sawda Kurdo at Istanbul Kebab in Exeter Street

Watterson, of St Peter’s Road, Manadon, admitted one count of affray and Wells, of Shell Close, Leigham, admitted one count of religiously aggravated common assault.

The prosecution offered no evidence in relation to the charge of affray against Wells and religiously aggravated assault against Watterson.

They were released on bail and ordered not to go within 100 metres of the kebab shop.

Recorder Jonathan Barnes told the pair: “This is a serious case. In adjourning it, I make no promises about what the sentence will be. All options, including immediate custody, are on the table.”

The Herald previously reported that Wells and Watterson were among a group drinking in the Wild Coyote pub near the kebab shop on the night of the incident. A court was told that the Kurdish family inside the kebab shop were subjected to racist abuse by a group shouting ‘EDL’.

Watterson was alleged to have thrown a glass into the shop which shattered.

Last year Michael Rafferty, 34 and formerly from Devonport, was convicted of resisting a police officer during the “large scale disorder” which involved about 30 people.

Wells and Watterson will be sentenced on February 22.

This is Plymouth