Football violence: man jailed

February 26 2020

A HANHAM man is among the 13 men who have been jailed for his part in a violent disorder which happened on a Bristol street after an England World Cup group stage win.

Kevin Bennett, 31, was jailed for four months for his part in the “major disorder” after England beat Panama 6-1 this summer.

Following the match, at about 3.15pm on Sunday June 24, violence broke out in Park Street, with tables and other furniture thrown and several of the men involved suffering injuries. One had a broken leg while another was knocked unconscious.

The incident was witnessed by families with children and other innocent bystanders. Witnesses told police: “[I] found it distressing to watch that level of violence in real life, watching people get hurt and bleeding in the street.”

“What I was seeing really disturbed me. I felt terrified … this was a vicious attack and there was a lot of hate in the atmosphere.”

Defendants have all appeared before District Judge Lambert at Bristol Crown Court for sentencing for affray. Judge Lambert described the incident as “major disorder” which “engendered terror and distress”. 

He told the defendants only custodial sentences were suitable “however small a part people played”. Three others were given suspended sentences.

Among the others who received prison sentences were Lee James, 33, of Soundwell, who was jailed for four months and Darren Knowles, 42, of Fishponds, who was jailed for three months and issued with a six-year Football Banning Order (FBO).

Daniel Poole, 28, of Kingswood, was handed a two-month prison term suspended for two years with a 150-hour unpaid work requirement and issued with a three-year FBO.

Avon and Somerset Police's head of operations superintendent Rhys Hughes said: “This incident of violent disorder was quickly brought under control on the arrival of police officers. However those few minutes were enough to put many of those enjoying a Sunday afternoon in the city in fear of being injured. 

“The effects of these men's actions include damage to property, a cost to the public purse in bringing these prosecutions and financial losses to nearby businesses as their customers fled. This type of violence has absolutely no place in our society. I welcome these custodial sentences and hope they send a clear message to anyone involved in football-related violence that it simply will not be tolerated in Bristol.”