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An English Defence League supporter from Rugeley has been banned from all licensed premises after a judge saw a recording of violence after the group he was in was turned away from a pub.

Ross Gilbert was the seventh man to be dealt with at Warwick Crown Court following a clash between EDL supporters and customers at the George Eliot pub in Bridge Street, Nuneaton.

He and the other six had all pleaded guilty to a charge of violent disorder following the incident which took place almost four years ago in February 2011.

Gilbert, aged 28, of William Morris Court, Rugeley, was sentenced to eight months in prison suspended for 12 months and ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work.

Judge Andrew Lockhart QC also imposed an exclusion order banning him from all public houses and restaurants where alcohol is served for three months.

He told Gilbert, who was given a football banning order last month because of drunken behaviour at the Hawthorns in December, he had escaped custody ‘by a hair’s breadth.’

Prosecutor Lisa Hancox said a group of EDL supporters, including Gilbert, had been to Luton for a demonstration and had to change trains in Nuneaton on their way back to Staffordshire. Several of them took the opportunity to head into the town centre for a drink, and after going to a kebab shop they headed to the George Eliot.

On the way one of the group was captured by a CCTV camera stopping to put on a cross of St George face mask before they congregated outside the pub where they were refused entry. There was a stand-off during which a drinker came out of the pub and confronted the masked EDL supporter, at which point Gilbert threw a punch at him.

And Judge Lockhart, watching a CCTV recording observed: “He was the first to use physical violence.”

Gilbert, representing himself, said: “I feel ashamed. It was four years ago. I was younger, stupid. I’ve moved on in my life.”

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