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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 19:02 GMT
Teenagers admit festival violence
Toilets on fire
Toilet blocks were set on fire
Eight teenagers have admitted taking part in scenes of violent disorder at the Leeds Carling Festival.

A group of between 150 and 200 festival-goers caused damage estimated at 250,000 and left 44 people injured.

A judge and parents of the defendants watched police video footage of the trouble, which lasted up to ten hours on the night of Sunday 24 August 2002.

Leeds Crown Court heard how rioters set toilet blocks alight, destroyed fencing, pulled down electrical pylons and threw missiles at police.

'Terrifying' scenes

Neil Clark, prosecuting, said one witness with 12 years experience in the army told investigators the trouble was worse than anything he had seen as a soldier.

He said others described the events as "absolutely terrifying".

Excerpts from the police footage shown in court showed pictures of youths throwing missiles at riot police and dozens of burning toilet cubicles.

Five teenagers from Scotland, and one from North Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to charges of violent disorder.

Guilty pleas

They were Craig Higgins, 18, of Strathaven; Kevin Brown, 18, of Selkirk; Michael Millar, 18, of Strathaven; James Cockburn, 18, of Galashiels; Martin Bellamy, 19, also of Galashiels and John Bower, 19, of Barkston Ash, Tadcaster, North Yorkshire.

The two other men who appeared at Leeds Crown Court pleaded guilty at a previous magistrates court hearing and were committed to be sentenced by the judge.

They were Nicholas Jones, 18, of Acton, Wrexham, and Stuart Gunn, 18, of Strathaven, Scotland.

Three other people have still to be dealt with by the crown court, although all have admitted violent disorder.

Media appeal

Four juveniles pleaded guilty to the same offence at a previous hearing in youth court.

All those convicted were tracked down after police released images of 24 suspects taken on the night to the media, the court heard.

The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Norman Jones, heard that all eight defendants were of good character and deeply remorseful for their "out of character" behaviour.

He adjourned the case for sentencing until Wednesday 19 February.





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SEE ALSO:
Troubled festival 'will be back'
26 Aug 02 |  Entertainment
Festival marred by violence
26 Aug 02 |  Entertainment


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