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affray

A MAN who took aim with a bottle as English Defence League supporters clashed with young Asians during an army parade has escaped being jailed – despite being sentenced for affray days before the clash.

Daniel Groves, 23, of Kettlewell Close, Warwick, pleaded guilty at the crown court in Leamington to a charge of affray and was sentenced to six months in prison suspended for two years.

He was given 18 months supervision, banned from all pubs and clubs for three months and made subject to a 8pm to 6am electronic-tag curfew for the same period.

The court heard that Groves had convictions for affray and public order offences and four days before the clash had been given a community sentence for an affray in Warwick town centre.

Prosecutor Vicki Lofrese said in September the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers were on parade in Nuneaton when police spotted English Defence League (EDL) supporters heading towards a pub.

She said: “Large banners were being paraded and slogans shouted from members of that group, including ‘I am English ’til I die’ and ‘St George in my heart.’

“Police saw a group of about 20 in the drinking area outside singing the same slogans and ‘Taliban scum’ as a group of young Asian men began to congregate outside.”

As the tension mounted and police struggled to keep them apart, Groves was spotted throwing the bottle, which smashed near the Asian youths, and he was arrested after a struggle.

He claimed the Asians were planning to attack them, denied being a member of the EDL but said he believed in its policies and was “against radical Muslims”.

Groves said that the EDL protected British troops by providing a target for those protesting against them.

Peter Freeman, defending, said: “Nuneaton is a long way from Warwick, but this was a trip with his friend whose cousin was in the regiment.

“He is standing there chatting with a bottle in his hand. He is about five rows back, and something triggers him to lob the bottle.

“ He does not know whether it was a coin or a pebble, but something struck him and he lost his rag.

“He says it is not right that people can turn up and shout abuse at our soldiers, but he never went there looking for trouble.”

Mr Freeman said Groves has had “a glowing report” from his probation officer.

Mrs Justice Macur told Groves: “I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt that this offence was not racially or religiously motivated – but you are running out of chances.”

The Courier

AN ENGLISH Defence League demonstrator who was at the forefront of a group which broke police lines has been jailed for 16 months.

Mark Doel became involved in violence at the demonstration in Hanley city centre on Saturday, January 23

Prosecutor Paul Spratt told Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court yesterday that at about 1.30pm, items were being thrown at police including glass bottles, cans and a smoke cannister.

“About 100 people had broken free from the group being cordoned to come round the rear of the police lines,” said Mr Spratt.

“A police dog handler became aware of a group of men at the rear of the police unit.

“He then saw the defendant run to the front and shout abuse at the officers.

“He (Doel) kicked out to the back of a slightly built female officer and punched her to her helmet, causing her to fall to the ground.

“She was later assaulted by another individual and was kicked and stamped on.”

The court heard the police dog took hold of the defendant. He kicked out and struck the dog and others tried to drag him back into the crowd.

But the dog maintained its grip and Doel was arrested.

In his police interview, he admitted being present at the demonstration but denied violent disorder and assaulting a police officer.

He pleaded guilty to affray at an earlier hearing.

The pleas were accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Peter McCartney, for the defence, said Doel was not a member of the EDL and visited the Potteries on the invitation of a friend.

He said the 43-year-old, who has numerous convictions for violence and disorder but none for 15 years, regrets getting into trouble.

“It was the first demonstration he has attended,” said Mr McCartney. “He came along. He did not intend to involve himself in violence, but the situation carried him along and he did get involved.”

Judge Granville Styler said an immediate custodial sentence had to be passed.

“This was a very serious matter,” the judge told Doel, a father-of-one from Primrose Hill, Batley, West Yorkshire.

“You travelled to Stoke-on-Trent and, I take the view, you travelled in order to take part in a demonstration. You consumed five pints of lager.

“You knew the police were having difficulties restraining an increasingly violent crowd.

“You were at the forefront of a breakaway group. You attacked a policewoman from behind and knocked her to the ground. It was an extremely dangerous situation. And it encouraged others to attack this officer while on the ground, and she was stamped on.

“It is clear to me you have not put your violent past behind you.”

Judge Styler said he would like the Chief Constable to commend the dog handler for his bravery.

This is Staffordshire

Protesters and police clash during the English Defence League protest in Bradford city centre

Protesters and police clash during the English Defence League protest in Bradford city centre

A father-to-be has been jailed after he was caught on camera throwing lumps of brick or concrete at police lines during violent clashes at an English Defence League protest in Bradford city centre.

A judge heard yesterday that 28-year-old Michael Currie was the only person to have ended up at the city’s crown court following the disturbance in August 2010.

Prosecutor Paul Gallagher told Recorder Peter Pimm 13 other people were arrested, but the majority had been dealt with by way of fixed penalty notices for disorderly conduct.

The court was shown aerial footage taken from a police helicopter of the protest, which took place at the Westfield Broadway building site.

The judge then watched another recording which showed Currie throwing missiles towards officers after he and others in the crowd had scaled a hoarding surrounding the site.

“Unfortunately there is a building site on the other side of it and that’s where the ammunition, as it were, came from,” said Mr Gallagher.

Currie, of Beechwood Mews, Blackburn, who had previous convictions, was arrested about eight months after the disturbances.

Last November, he pleaded guilty to a charge of affray and yesterday he was given a 16-month prison sentence for that offence.

Recorder Pimm also imposed a further eight months in jail for other matters, including breaching a suspended sentence order.

The judge told Currie, whose partner is expecting their first child next month, that it was a testament to the equipment the officers were wearing that no-one was injured as protesters rained down missiles on the them from their vantage point.

“We are very fortunate in this country that we have the freedom to conduct public protests provided they are peaceful,” said Recorder Pimm.

“That right is undermined by people like you who abuse that freedom that we are given in the grossest way imaginable by throwing missiles designed to injure police officers.”

Currie’s barrister Thomas Gilbart said his client was never a member of the EDL and his arrest had marked the end of his involvement with the organisation.

Mr Gilbart said he could not say a great deal about Currie’s conduct that day, but he conceded it was poor behaviour of which he was rightly ashamed.

Telegraph & Argus

FOUR men have been jailed for their part in violent scenes at an English Defence League protest in Dudley town centre.

The protest on July 17 turned ugly when objects including crowd control barriers were thrown at police officers who were being abused and spat on.

Admitting affray at Wolverhampton Crown Court, Adrian Britton, aged 39, of High View Street, Dudley collapsed in the dock when he was jailed for 15 months, while 27-year old Daniel Holmes of St Matthews Close, Walsall was put behind bars for a year.

Meanwhile teenagers Jake Hill of Alexander Hill, Brierley Hill, aged 18 and 19 year-old James Everard, of Armstrong Close, Amblecote, were both sent to a young offenders institution – Everard for nine months and Hill for six months.

Sentencing the four men, Judge Patrick Thomas QC, said: “This was not an afternoon’s fun.

“It was a dangerous and unpleasant incident involving a mob attack on police officers doing their duty.”

He said it was clear their offending was not linked to the march but towards the officers who were present to protect their fellow citizens from threats and violence.

“I do not think you were particularly concerned with the EDL,” said the judge. “You took it upon yourselves to attack the police in a number of ways.

“You were involved in a significant and highly unpleasant and unnecessary public disorder and you tested the patience, self control and discipline of police officers under a hail of abuse and threats of violence.”

Hugh O’Brien prosecuting said Everard had been aggressive, swearing at police and stamping on metal barriers used to contain the protestors, while Hill, who was carrying a St George’s flag spat at police.

Meanwhile Holmes, was seen throwing missiles at police before doing a chicken dance at officers and Britton was seen to throw a piece of metal fencing.

The judge told the men: “Most of you claim not to have any involvement in the activities of the EDL.

Most of you claim you were part of this gathering simply by chance or by curiosity.”

But it was clear, he stressed, the affray was directed solely towards police officers who were on duty as he concluded: “A drink-fuelled mob is more dangerous than a sober one.”

Dudley News

A 25 YEAR-old Lower Gornal man who launched a “flying kick” at a police officer during an English Defence League march has been jailed for one year.

Judge Michael Challinor told Thomas Blackwell, of Bird Street: “You attended this demonstration with the intention of causing disorder and violence.”

“This is clear from the fact you were wearing protective clothing in the form of a stab vest. In the course of this disorder you tackled a police officer by using a flying kick to his protective shield.”

The judge said he had taken into consideration Blackwell would lose his employment if he was sent to prison but he added: “This type of violent behaviour so often prevents law abiding citizens from protesting peacefully.”

Blackwell admitted affray and the judge said it was clear from DVD evidence he had been at the “forefront” of the EDL march on July 17 last year.

Stephen Thomas prosecuting said Blackwell had been near the front of a group of EDL protesters who had thrown bottles and other missiles at police officers.

He told Wolverhampton Crown Court that protesters also tried to provoke the officers by chanting the names of people who had killed policemen including Raoul Moat who had hit the headlines just weeks earlier.

Blackwell who represented himself in court said he felt the description “flying kick” totally exaggerated his actions while adding: “I am ashamed of what I did. I have shamed myself and my family.”

Two other men – Scott Bailey, 23, of Central Drive, Gornal and 20 year-old Anthony Grant of George Road, Netherton – will be sentenced on May 31 after also admitting a charge of affray in connection with the EDL march.

Dudley News

Soldier Cavan Langfield, arriving at court for the case, in which nine members of the EDL gang were given community sentences.

Soldier Cavan Langfield, arriving at court for the case, in which nine members of the EDL gang were given community sentences.

A gang of English Defence League supporters caused terror when they attacked a pub as an anti-racism rock concert was being staged.

Nine members of the gang were handed community sentences yesterday (Sept 3) after a court heard how windows and doors were smashed as bricks and bottles were hurled at Joseph’s Well in Leeds city centre.

Leeds Crown Court heard the gang members turned up at the venue and tried to get into to the Rock Against Racism event.

Violence erupted when one member of the gang, Mark Johnson, 31, tried to push past door staff but was resisted and suffered an injury.

A man who was at the event with his son was hit in the mouth with a missile thrown by a gang member and had a tooth knocked out.

Andrew Stranex, prosecuting, said members of the group were chanting ‘EDL’ in reference to the far right group. Others were heard to say: “We are not racist, we just hate Muslims.”

Members of the gang, aged between 14 and 31, were arrested after CCTV images were circulated to the media after the incident, which happened 2.30pm on June 18 last year.

Mr Stranex said the concert was supposed to be a peaceful event but when it was advertised on Facebook organisers had received warnings from EDL members that there may be trouble. One message read: “We will smash the place up.”

One member of the gang, soldier Cavan Langfield, learnt yesterday that he had been discharged from the Yorkshire Regiment ahead of sentencing.

The sentenced were:

Mark Johnson, 31, of Top of the Hill, Thurstonland, Huddersfield, 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, 150 hours unpaid work and £400 compensation

Matthew Bermingham, 18, of Eton Avenue, Huddersfield, one year community order, 150 hours unpaid work and £100 compensation.

Aaron Childs, 20, of Chestnut Street, Huddersfield, one year community order, 150 hours unpaid work and £200 compensation.

Jonathan Foy, 19, of Fillingfir Road, West Park. Leeds, one year community order, 150 hours unpaid work and £100 compensation.

Joseph Harman, 20, of Cherrywood Gardens, Whinmoor, Leeds, one year community order, 200 hours unpaid work, £500 compensation.

Cavan Langfield, 18, of Stratford Close, Huddersfield, one year community order, 200 hours unpaid work and £250 compensation.

Tom Maudsley, 18, of Bridon Way, Cleckheaton, one year community order, 200 hours unpaid work and £100 compensation.

Two youths, aged 15 and 17, who cannot be named, were made the subject of 12 month referral orders.

Yorkshire Evening Post

FAR-RIGHT thugs who stormed a Newcastle club in a display of violence were today behind bars.

Members of the English Defence League (EDL) turned up at the Tyneside Irish Centre looking to infiltrate a meeting of political rivals.

It turned out their targets – the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) – were not even in the building after the EDL group were spotted in a nearby pub and officials called the meeting off fearing trouble.

But that did not stop a pack of up to 20 thugs, many wearing EDL hooded tops, from forcing entry, attacking door staff and setting off a fire extinguisher inside the Irish Centre in scenes captured on CCTV.

Now six of the gang have been locked up while three others received suspended jail terms.

Judge Roger Thorn, at Newcastle Crown Court, said: “This was a group attack on the democratic rights of others to have free association and exercise their freedom of speech.

“This behaviour cannot be tolerated, no matter how much you might dislike the views of the socialist party.

“These sentences must ensure a tit-for-tat revenge can be no option. Violence and threats of violence will not be tolerated by the EDL, SWP or indeed any other factions or groups of any kind.”

The SWP had been holding weekly meetings at the Tyneside Irish Centre, on Gallowgate, in the months before the incident.

On September 22 last year, yobs, described in court as being ‘aligned to the EDL’, met at nearby Rosie’s Bar.

That led to officials cancelling the proposed SWP meeting, fearing there would be trouble, and staff at the private members Irish Club were told not to let anyone in.

When one of the men in the EDL group, Peter Duffy, turned up, he was eventually let in so he could be shown none of his rivals were there.

Once inside he was pushed in the back by a member of staff and he retaliated by hitting the man.

Duffy was then bundled outside, where he was joined by a large group of other EDL sympathisers, who suddenly stormed the club, attacking two door staff. Jonathan Devlin, prosecuting, said: “One witness said around 20 people were outside Rosie’s Bar and they were staring across towards the Irish Centre.

“He said they ran towards the centre and when they came out he said there was a real sense of tension on the street and one man was rubbing his knuckles as if he had just punched someone.”

Mr Devlin said: “On September 22 last year several persons thought to be aligned with the EDL met at Rosie’s bar situated on the opposite side of the road.

“They forced themselves into the club foyer, a melee ensued and door staff were attacked.”

Peter Duffy, 44, of Elgin Avenue, Seaham, Colin Bell, 36, of St Oswalds Road, Hebburn, Anthony Burn, 48, of Lecondale Court, Leam Lane, Gateshead, Michael Garriock, 23, of Gibson Street, Wallsend, Barry Keddy, 34, of Deneholm, Wallsend, Alan Spence, 46, of Gerald Street, Benwell, Steven Spence, 27, of Wickham View, Denton Burn, Newcastle, and Paul Starr, 45, of Telford Street, East Howdon, North Tyneside, all admitted affray.

Nicholas Mills, 25, of Drumaldrace, Blackfell, Washington, and Colin Burton, 28, of Woodhave Court, South Shields, admitted public order offences.

Duffy was jailed for 10 months, Keddy got eight months, Garriock eight months, Steven Spence eight months, Alan Spence seven months and Burton seven months. Burn and Bell were sentenced to three months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with four week curfews. Starr was sentenced to four months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with a similar curfew. Mills’ case was adjourned until later this month.

Robert Adams, defending, said the EDL had targeted the meeting after it was advertised on the internet under the heading “smash the EDL”.

Judge Thorn said he was not sentencing the men for their membership of any political party but for the premeditated violence.

Chronicle Live

A man from Birmingham has been charged with affray following ugly clashes at an English Defence League demonstration in Aylesbury in May last year.

Stuart Bates, aged 41, of Lazyhill, Kings Norton, was charged with affray by Thames Valley Police on May 5.

He was bailed and appeared at Aylesbury Magistrates’ Court on Monday where he entered a not guilty plea to the charge.

The case was adjourned and the next hearing will be at Aylesbury Crown Court in July.

Bucks Herald

A man accused of launching a “flying kick” at a police officer while at the forefront of trouble at an EDL march in the Black Country was today behind bars.

A man accused of launching a “flying kick” at a police officer while at the forefront of trouble at an EDL march in the Black Country was today behind bars.

Thomas Blackwell admitted a charge of affray during the EDL protest in Dudley on July 17 last year and was sentenced to one year in prison.

A DVD shown at Wolverhampton Crown Court yesterday showed Blackwell, aged 25, of Bird Street, Lower Gornal, wearing a white stab vest in the front few rows of protesters at the march as they confronted police.

Judge Michael Challinor told him the DVD showed he had “clearly” been at the forefront of the violence which erupted in Stafford Street on the day.

“You attended this demonstration with the intention of causing disorder and violence,” he said.

“This is clear from the fact you were wearing protective clothing in the form of a stab vest.

“In the course of this disorder you tackled a police officer by using a flying kick to his protective shield.”

Judge Challinor said he had considered the fact that Blackwell would lose his job and as a result, his home if sent to prison but added: “This type of violent behaviour so often prevents law-abiding citizens from protesting peacefully.”

Mr Stephen Thomas, prosecuting, told the court Blackwell had been near the front of the group of EDL protesters who had thrown bottles and bits of metal at police, before launching the “flying kick” at a police officer’s riot shield and swearing at him.

Mr Thomas said the group had also been chanting at the police and naming people who had killed officers, including Raoul Moat just weeks before.

Blackwell, who was unrepresented after having an application for legal aid denied, told the court he was “ashamed” of himself.

“I’ve shamed my family and my girlfriend,” he said. He added that he considered the term ‘flying kick’ an “exaggeration”.

Two others who have also pleaded guilty to affray during the EDL march will be sentenced on May 31.

Scott Bailey, 23, of Central Drive, Gornal, is accused of throwing a fence at police while Anthony Grant, 20, of Georges Road, Netherton, is accused of throwing “stones and large objects.”

Express & Star