A JUDGE has said hooligans intent on fighting at the Portsmouth v Southampton match are not true fans.
Judge William Ashworth made the comments at Portsmouth Crown Court where he jailed 53-year-old former Ukip candidate Derek Jennings for violent disorder.
Dad-of-two Jennings punched police horse Luna twice, in the nose and mouth, ahead of kick off at the Carabao Cup third round derby match on September 24.
The trusted family man, of Laburnum Grove, Copnor, has now been jailed for 20 months with a six-year football banning order. He admitted violent disorder.
During sentencing, judge Ashworth said: ‘There’s absolutely no doubt that some of the, I won’t call them Portsmouth fans, people from the Portsmouth side of the supporting section – I won’t call them fans because they weren’t there for the football – they were there to fight.
‘They were clearly goading and threatening the Southampton contingent, singing a particular song which was clearly a group indication of a desire to engage in violence.
‘Both groups, Portsmouth and Southampton groups, were exchanging threats and goading each other, and if the police had not been there then this turbulence of threats and aggression from both groups would simply have boiled over into a vast running battle in the residential streets of Portsmouth and the damage and the results of that violence would have been wide ranging.’
More people are being prosecuted in relation to the disorder.
Sgt Leon Astley, from the shared Hampshire and Thames Valley police horse unit, said: ‘Luna was simply there to do her job and assist police in protecting the public
‘This type of behaviour is completely unacceptable.
‘Fortunately she was not injured during this incident but we’ve made sure she’s had plenty of TLC since then.’
Det Chief Insp John McGonigle added: ‘For a grown man to act in this way was deplorable, especially against an animal, who was simply there to help protect people who wanted to enjoy the game and get home safely.
‘We hope this sentence sends a clear message that we will not tolerate this type of behaviour or any disorder at any public event.
‘Action will be taken and those responsible will be investigated.’
Both he and Sgt Astley thanked the public for an ‘outpouring’ of support for Luna.