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English Defence League supporters became involved in ‘grotesque violence’ as they tried to get into a pub on their way back from a rally, a court heard.

The clash between EDL supporters from Rugeley and Tamworth and drinkers at the pub in Nuneaton led to six men being sentenced at Warwick Crown Court for their parts in the disorder.

But because of the long delay in the police getting the case to court following the incident in February 2011, all six were handed suspended prison sentences.

Christopher Tully, John Horton, Neil Grant and Daniel Edkins were all sentenced to eight months in prison suspended for 12 months after pleading guilty to violent disorder.

Tully, 26, of Cadogan Road, Dosthill, Tamworth, was also ordered to do 130 hours of unpaid work and to pay £300 costs.

Horton, 44, of Johnson Close, Rugeley, whose health problems make him unfit for unpaid work, was made subject to a 4pm to 3am electronically-tagged curfew for three months.

Grant, 45, of Stoneleigh Court, Coton Road, Nuneaton, was ordered to do 120 hours work and pay £300 costs, and Edkins, 31, of Marston Lane, Nuneaton, to do 110 hours and to pay £100 costs.

Stephen Ginnelly, 52, of Franklin Court, Nuneaton, who had also admitted violent disorder, and Douglas Tully, 25, of Cadogan Road, Dosthill, who had pleaded guilty to affray, were both sentenced to six months suspended for 12 months. They were both ordered to do 80 hours of unpaid work, with Ginnelly having to pay £100 costs and Douglas Tully £200.

A seventh man, Ross Gilbert, 27, of William Morris Close, Rugeley, who had admitted violent disorder, failed to turn up at the court, and his case was adjourned.

Prosecutor Jason Pegg said: “The disorder involved two groups. Both Tullys, together with Horton and Gilbert were part of the EDL group; and the second group was the other three defendants who were enjoying an evening in a pub in Nuneaton, the George Eliot in Bridge Street.

“The EDL group had been to Luton to an EDL demonstration. They got off the train and went into Nuneaton town centre. They bought some fish and chips and made their way to the George.”

CCTV coverage showed that on the way Christopher Tully put on gloves and a ski mask with the cross of St George on it.

When they reached the George Eliot at about 7.15pm people at the pub stood in the doorway to prevent them getting in.

Sentencing the men, Judge Griffith-Jones told them: “I don’t know if any of you thought you were being hard or impressive, you just looked truly pathetic.

“But the most important point in mitigation in this case is the fact that we are now in September 2014, and these events took place in February 2011.

“If I had been dealing with the case in any sort of reasonable period of time, it would have been my duty to set a sentence which would act as a deterrence to drunken thugs fighting in this way – but after three-and-a-half years such a sentence would not be just.”

Express & Star

Men were arrested after police turned up to deal with fights which broke out in Bridge Street

Six men have appeared in court following an incident in which English Defence League supporters were involved in violence outside a Nuneaton town centre pub.

The men were arrested after police turned up to deal with fights which broke out in Bridge Street, Nuneaton, and in the doorway of the George Eliot pub.

Noting at the crown court in Leamington that the incident had taken place as long ago as February 2011, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano asked why it had taken so long to get to court.

Prosecutor Aliya Rashid explained that the police had been searching for witnesses and trying to track down other people who had been involved.

At the court, five men from Nuneaton, Tamworth and Rugeley, Staffordshire, pleaded guilty to a charge of violent disorder.

They were Daniel Edkins, 31, of Marston Lane, Nuneaton; Stephen Ginelly,51, of Franklin Court, Nuneaton; John Horton, 43, of Johnson Close, Rugeley; Neil Grant,45, of Stoneleigh Court, Coton Road, Nuneaton; and Christopher Tully,26, of Cadogan Road, Dosthill, Tamworth.

But Douglas Tully, 44, also of Cadogan Road, Dosthill, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

His barrister Jane Sarginson explained that he would admit a public order offence, but denied using any unlawful violence during the incident.

Mrs Rashid said that was not accepted by the prosecution, commenting that he was the brother of ‘one of the main defendants’ when the EDL group had approached the pub.

So his case was adjourned for trial, which is expected to take place in July, and he was granted bail.

And of Christopher Tully’s ‘basis of plea’ that he had not been looking for trouble, she told the judge: “That is not accepted by the Crown. He stopped and put gloves on and a banner round his face before going to the pub.”

In January this year Ginnelly had been jailed for six months for his part in football-related violence outside the Granby pub in Nuneaton in March last year.

Asking for an addendum to a pre-sentence report prepared for that hearing, his barrister Kevin Saunders said he wanted it to consider the effect the sentence, which he has now served, has had on Ginnelly.

Judge de Bertodano agreed, and also ordered pre-sentence reports on the other four men who had pleaded guilty.

They were all granted bail, but the judge warned: “They are to be under no illusions that, despite the lapse of time, custodial sentences must be at the forefront of the court’s mind.”

Coventry Telegraph