Saturday, 22 September 2007

CARDIFF: Yobs jailed after Ninian Park riot

Yobs jailed after Ninian Park riot

FOOTBALL hooligans who rioted at a Cardiff City match were today behind bars.

Five Birmingham City supporters were locked up yesterday following the horror scenes at Ninian Park during last season’s top-of-the-table Championship clash.

Bluebirds steward Roger Llewellyn-Mortimer was permanently blinded by a missile hurled from the away supporters on the Grange End and one woman was so appalled by the violence she was physically sick, Cardiff Crown Court heard.

In a statement, Mr Llewellyn-Mortimer, who has worked in events security for more than 10 years, said: “The force was unbelievable.

“It felt like I’d been hit with a good hard punch.”

He described the behaviour of Birmingham supporters who tore up and threw chairs and a lump of concrete as “unbelievable”. He said: “They paid no regard to the terrified men, women and children around them.”

Judge Michael Burr, who viewed CCTV footage of the incident during City’s 2-0 win last August, branded the fans’ actions as “disgraceful” and “collective madness”.

The court’s televisions showed a crowd of fans wearing hoods and scarves over their faces surge forward, some stamping on and throwing seats while others gestured to police officers and stewards trying desperately to control the situation.

A Birmingham supporter of 23 years said in a statement: “The violence I’ve seen that day was the worst I’ve ever seen. The behaviour of our fans was appalling.”

Five men aged between 18 and 52, all from the West Midlands, admitted affray and were banned from attending matches for six years.

Another supporter was given a three-month sentence, suspended for a year, and banned from British football grounds for three years.

The match at the start of last season saw league leaders Cardiff take on second-placed Birmingham City.

There was a heavy police presence because intelligence suggested it could be targeted by hooligans.

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