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Sunday, 21 September 2014

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A dozen admit guilt to half-time violence at Barrow AFC match

A teenager and 11 men have admitted taking part in the half-time violence which marred Barrow AFC’s FA Cup clash with Atherstone Town in October last year

Lacey
HANDS FULL Paddy Lacey is outnumbered as his warm-up is abruptly interrupted by Atherstone yobs during the half-time break of Barrow’s recent FA Cup tie at Sheepy Road PA

Guilty pleas were entered by Ben Cox, 26, of Tannery Close, in Atherstone, Joseph Gilks, 22, of Royal Meadow Drive, Atherstone, and a 16-year-old, who lives in a village near Atherstone and cannot be named for legal reasons.

Their cases were adjourned for pre-sentence reports, and Judge Parker remitted the 16-year-old’s case for him to be dealt with in the Youth Court.

A further 17 men will have to stand trial, which is likely to be next year, after they all denied being involved.

The 29 defendants, all but one of them from north Warwickshire, appeared in front of a judge at Warwick Crown Court in a number of groups.

They all faced a charge of violence disorder alleging that, with others, they used or threatened unlawful violence and the conduct of them all taken together “was such as would cause a person of reasonable firmness to fear for his personal safety.”

The charge follows a half-time incident during Barrow’s FA Cup third qualifying round preliminary match at Midlands Football Combination Premier League side Atherstone Town’s Sheepy Road ground on October 12.

With Atherstone trailing 4-0, a group of their supporters ran across to the section of the ground where the Bluebirds fans were, and there was violence during which a flare was thrown.

First in the dock were Corey Sweet, who was celebrating his 20th birthday on the day of the hearing, Kacey Sweet, Alex Turner, Paul Tyler and Ross Kirkham, all from Atherstone.

Corey and Kacey Sweet, 22, both of Minions Close; Turner, 21, of St Georges Road; and Tyler, 29, of Lister Road, all pleaded not guilty to the charge – and their case was put back until later in the day.

But Kirkham 20, pleaded guilty, and his barrister Christopher Hallas, asking for a pre-sentence report, said: “He is a first-time offender, and a serving soldier.”

Defendants who plead guilty are typically not sentenced until after the trial of those who have denied the charge.

But Judge Alan Parker said: “I don’t know how long it’s going to take to resolve all these cases. It may be they are not resolved until next year. So it may be that consideration can be given for any defendants who have pleaded guilty to be dealt with sooner.”

Adjourning Kirkham’s case for a pre-sentence report, he told him: “Ordinarily defendants are not dealt with until the innocence or guilt of all parties involved has been determined. But recognising that you are a member of the Armed Forces and that you might be deployed abroad at some stage, I may deal with you earlier.”

Next in the dock were Kieron Marshall, Jacob Powell, Connor Rendchen, Mark Shilton, Richard Smith and Andrew Storey.

Marshall, 18, of Royal Meadow Drive, Atherstone; Rendchen, 21, of South Street, Atherstone; and Smith, 23, of Cherry Orchard Estate, Higham-on-Hill, Nuneaton, all pleaded not guilty to violent disorder – and their case was also put back.

Powell, 19, of Boot Hill, Grendon; Shilton, 29, of St Georges Road, Atherstone; and Storey, 19, of Old Farm Road, Atherstone, admitted the charge, with Powell and Shilton doing so on a ‘basis of plea.’

Adjourning their cases for pre-sentence reports Judge Parker said: “They can’t be sentenced before any relevant trial because the bases of plea have to be determined by the judge who tries the other defendants.”

And he warned them that asking for reports on them and granting them bail was “no indication at all of what it means other than that you will receive credit for your guilty pleas.”

Steven Jakovlevs, Ashley Jenkins, Lewis Johnson, Thomas Johnson, Steven Jones and Jordan Marshall then went into the dock.

Jakovlevs, 25, of The Crescent, Baddesley Ensor; Jones, 23, of Church Walk, Mancetter; and Marshall, 22, of Royal Meadow Drive, Atherstone, all pleaded guilty on a basis – and their cases were adjourned until after the trials and for pre-sentence reports.

Jenkins, 23, of Tudor Crescent, Atherstone; Lewis Johnson, 21, of Brailsford Close, Manchester, where he is at university; and Thomas Johnson, 24, of Trafford Close, Atherstone, had the case against them put back after they pleaded not guilty.

Matthew Evans, 21, of Long Street, Atherstone; Roy Hall, 50, of Denham Close, Atherstone, and Scott Hankinson, 25, of Kennel Lane, Witherley, had their cases put back after they denied the charge.

Following them into the dock were Stuart Allison, Daniel Austin, Jamie Barsby, Samuel Barsby, Ben Brookes and Lewis Cooper, who are all from Atherstone.

Austin, 28, of St Georges Road; Samuel Barsby, 23, of Austin Close; Brookes, 21, of Daniel Road; and Cooper, 19, of Leicester Crescent, denied violent disorder, and their cases were put back until later in the day.

Allison, 22, of Field Close; and Jamie Barsby, 26, of Tannery Close, who was on bail for an earlier offence at the time, both pleaded guilty and their cases were adjourned for pre-sentence reports.

Following an adjournment for the prosecution to decide how to proceeds against those who had pleaded not guilty, Paul Spratt, prosecuting, said it was proposed that there should be three trials.

The first one will involve Corey and Kacey Sweet, Turner, Tyler, Marshall and Rendchen, who were back in the dock.

Judge Parker added: “I’m not going to give a date for trial today. What we think will happen is that there will be trials probably at the end of the year or in January.”

With Smith, Lewis Thompson, Thomas Johnson, Jenkins, Hankinson and Evans then back in court, the judge said: “It is proposed that this will be heard as the second trial in the sequence.”

But, at the request of Lewis Johnson’s barrister who pointed out that he is in the third year of his degree course at Manchester University, the judge said the listing of that trial should not interfere with him sitting his final exams.

Hall, Austin, Samuel Barsby, Brookes and Cooper were told their cases will be the third trial.

All of the defendants were granted bail with a condition that they are prohibited from entering football grounds.

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