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Last Updated: Friday, 22 September 2006, 17:45 GMT 18:45 UK
Jail for soccer fans on rampage
Football fans who attacked innocent bystanders in a rampage through London's West End have been jailed for up to 16 months.

The violence involving Wolverhampton Wanderers' supporters followed a game at West Ham in 2004, the court heard.

But only a handful of those arrested, including family men with children, had been to the match.

CCTV pictures showed a gang of 15 punching, kicking and head-butting their victims.

Crowds of shoppers

Two men were booted repeatedly in the head as they lay helplessly on the ground.

Others, seen trying to back away from trouble, were hit.

The Wolves fans had approached a small group of young men standing outside a tube station.

Southwark Crown Court heard how street camera operators first noticed the gang congregating near Charing Cross, before barging their way through crowds of shoppers to Leicester Square.

Some were seen wrapping scarves across their faces or pulling hoods over their heads.

Banning orders

The group, aged between 18 and 44, were variously charged with violent disorder and affray.

Some pleaded guilty. The remainder were convicted by a jury.

Passing sentence, Judge Paul Dodgson said: "This was a Saturday evening, a time when Leicester Square was packed with people.

"For your gang to behave in this way must have been a frightening, if not terrifying, event for any onlookers."

Most were given football banning orders, preventing them from going to any football ground on match days for six years after their release from prison.

  • Matthew Cooper, 18, of St Michael's Court, Wolverhampton, was jailed for 16 months.
  • Gregory Elliot, 41, of Slatch House Road, Bearwood, Birmingham, and Steven Howe, 35, of Bee Lane, Wolverhampton, got 12 months.
  • Craig Eagleton, 27, of Darlston Lane, Bilston, near Wolverhampton, and Wayne Ratcliffe, 41, of Biddlestone Place, Darlaston, near Wolverhampton, were given 10 months.
  • Steven Powner, 32, of Old Hednesford Road, Cannock, and Brendan Kelly, 46, of Amleside Close, Bilston, were sentenced to nine months.
  • James Hemmings, 25, of High View Drive, Kingswinford, Warwickshire, Michael Evans, 42, of Lawn Road, Wolverhampton, and twins Simon and Stephen Pearce, 21, of Arden Place, Bilston, were jailed for eight months.
  • Paul Martin, 27, of Church Walk, Donnington, Telford, Lee Millard, 20, of Holywell Street, Wolverhampton, and Thomas Slater, 21, of Hydes Road, Wednesbury, near Wolverhampton, got seven months.
  • Christopher Spilsbury, 24, of Pendeford Avenue, Wolverhampton, was sentenced to a 120 hours community punishment order.



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