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Last Updated: Friday, 21 December 2007, 16:05 GMT
Man United fans jailed in Italy
Roma fans
The men were in Italy for the European game on 12 December
Four Manchester United fans have been jailed for their part in a fight with Roma fans in Italy.

Kyle Dillon, 23, from Mottram, near Hyde, and Richard Wimmer, 39, were each sentenced to two years and five months.

Nicholas Lucas, 18, and Michael Burk, 35, from Little Hulton, Salford, were jailed for two years and four months.

The British Embassy said in the past sentences had been suspended, but there was no guarantee of this and all four were likely to spend Christmas in jail.

According to police, the four Manchester United supporters were part of a group which broke away from other fans travelling to the Champions League game in Rome on 12 December.

Notorious hangout

The police said they made for the River Bar, said to be a notorious hangout for the Roma Ultras, where fighting broke out with bottles and chairs being thrown.

The four men, who were dressed in black with scarves wrapped around their faces, were all identified by Greater Manchester Police spotters outside the ground.

Kyle Dillon (pic courtesy of MEN Syndication)
Dillon and the others were identified by Greater Manchester Police

However, Dillon's mother, Janet, who attended the court hearing with character references and medical statements declaring that her son is partially-sighted, claims he was an innocent man who had got caught up in the violence.

"My son is not a thug, he's not a hooligan, he's not a member of a gang," she said.

Five United fans were stabbed during skirmishes between rival fans on the Wednesday evening.

The violence flared at the Pont Duca d'Aosta bridge, the scene of previous clashes between visiting fans and Roma's Ultras.

Police used two baton charges to disperse the fans during the violence, which was the latest in a series of clashes between supporters of the two clubs.

'Abbreviated' trial

Dillon, Wimmer, Lucas and Burk appeared in court in Rome in an "abbreviated" trial in front of three magistrates.

No oral evidence is given in such trials.

The decision is made by the court on the basis of documents and video put forward in the preliminary investigation by the public prosecutor.

The accused also give up their right to cross examination, but their decision to appear in an abbreviated trial means their sentences are reduced by a third.

The last time Manchester United and AS Roma met in April, 11 fans were taken to hospital after supporters were beaten by riot police inside the stadium.

Three United supporters were also stabbed outside the ground.

Scuffles also broke out outside Old Trafford during the second leg of that tie a week later, with 21 people arrested.



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Kyle Dillion's mother protests her son's innocence



SEE ALSO
Roma v Man Utd
12 Dec 07 |  Europe
Man United fans stabbed in Rome
12 Dec 07 |  Manchester
Injured fans vent anger at police
05 Apr 07 |  Manchester
Fans in hospital after violence
05 Apr 07 |  Europe

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