7 England Fans jailed for throwing bottles at police at Euro 2016 match

Seven England fans have been jailed and banned from France for their part in the violence that marred the opening of Euro 2016 in Marseille.

Alexander Booth, 20, and Ian Hepworth, 41, were the first fans to be dealt with after the widespread trouble around England’s game with Russia in the French port city.

They were followed by Ashley Kelly, 26, Paul Jackson, 21, Lee Phillips, 23, Steven Cornell and Ian Stockley.

Prosecutor Andre Ribes said all had thrown glass beer bottles at riot police, aiming for their legs under their shields.

Booth from Huddersfield, a chef who spent his 20th birthday in prison following his arrest, was jailed for two months for throwing a bottle at police and was banned from France for two years.

Hepworth, a psychiatric nurse from Sheffield, was given a three-month sentence for the same offence and was handed the same ban.

Kelly, from Birmingham, was imprisoned for three months and given a two-year ban from France for throwing seven bottles outside the stadium.

The single father told the court that the Russians had goaded him into throwing bottles, but prosecutors said he did it ‘at least three times’.

Jackson, an apprentice engineer from Halifax, received one month in jail and a two-year ban after he threw bottles at police and supporters on Saturday.

While Phillips, from Taunton, was also jailed for one month and given a two-year ban for throwing bottles at a woman, who threw some back at him.

Stockley received a three month sentence and a ban from France and Cornell, from Huddersfield, was jailed for two months and was also given a ban.

So-called ‘Ultra’ hooligans from Russia were largely blamed for the violence, but despite this not a single one appeared in the dock at the Marseille Correctional Court.

Instead, a total of seven supporters from the UK were among 11 defendants who appeared, along with an Austrian and three French.

Before being dealt with, Booth told the judge: ‘I would like to say sorry to the police and to the people and city of Marseille.

‘This is not like me. I’m not a violent person. I love my job and my family. I’ve never been involved in football hooliganism. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.’

Booth was accused of throwing a plastic bottle at the police during the trouble.

He insisted that he had ‘only thrown’ a plastic pint pot full of beer, and made ‘an offensive gesture’ at police.

Still wearing his England shirt, he said it may have looked like it was aimed for the police but it was not.

He said: ‘I have never had problems with the police. I respect the police very much. I am hard working.’

After his son was jailed, Booth’s father Chris, who was later seen in tears, said ‘I’ll fight it’ and ‘miscarriage of justice’.

Hepworth was accused of throwing a bottle at the police and then walking forward to pick up a second bottle.

Before being arrested, Hepworth had attended the Saturday evening match at the Stade Velodrome alone.

He admitted to throwing a beer bottle at police at 1am on Sunday morning.

‘My job is helping people. I did something stupid,’ he said through a court translator.

Hepworth also said he had had no intention of hitting police with the bottle, saying: ‘I wanted to impress my new French friends.’

Cornell, who has a seven-months-pregnant girlfriend at his home,claimed he threw a bottle in self-defence after being attacked by a gang of masked Russian hooligans.

He said: ‘All of a sudden a group of 15 lads put gloves and balaclavas on and ran to us and started to throw punches. I was very scared so we backed off.

‘I had a plastic cup which I threw and that was it. I’m not a criminal I’ve never been in court before.

‘The last four days in prison have been hell. It’s been awful in there. I just want to go home and see my girlfriend and keep my job and my house. I am sorry and I do apologise.’

All of the defendants had opted for a fast track trial, and beforehand French prosecutors admitted that at least 150 hardcore Russian hooligans had escaped arrest in Marseille.

Clashes with Russian thugs left one English fan with severe head injuries and Euro 2016 organiser UEFA threatening to ban England and Russia if there is any repeat.

The injured supporter, Andrew Bache, 50, from Portsmouth, was in a critical condition in a French hospital after being beaten round the head by Russians armed with iron bars.

The trial today also included a 16-year-old currently in the care of French social services – who was banned from attending any matches in the tournament.

The Austrian and three French spectators who were arrested and charged over clashes in Marseille are now facing jail time.

West Midlands Police said Daniel Warlow, 24, from Tipton will appear before Birmingham Magistrates today to answer accusations that he was involved in a disorder on Friday 10 June in France during the Euro Championships.

However, Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin admitted Russian hooligans were behind much of the violence that broke out ahead of Saturday’s match.

About 35 people have been injured, including four people whose conditions were described as serious.

Mr Robin told a news conference: ‘These people were well prepared for ultra-rapid, ultra-violent action. These are extremely well trained people.’

He said some Russian supporters were turned back on arrival at Marseille’s international airport but others had arrived overland.

Most of the 35 people who were injured in the fighting were English, the prosecutor said, adding that two Russian nationals were being expelled from the country.

Tensions between supporters came to a head inside the Stade Velodrome when Russian hooligans rushed the England supporters’ section, sending people fleeing.

There are now fears that the paramilitary-style Russian gangs are preparing for other clashes with England fans on Wednesday and Thursday.

Police in Lille say there is a ‘high risk’ they will target the English in the city ahead of Russia’s game against Slovakia.

England then play Wales the next day in Lens, just 20 miles away.

The head of the All-Russian Fans’ Union said French police raided a hotel in Cannes on Sunday, a day after violence.

Alexander Shprygin says 40 armed French police photographed Russian fans and confiscated alcohol during the raid.

He says it was not clear if the police were looking for specific individuals. He says about 15 Russians were in the hotel because many others were visiting a memorial.

A spokeswoman for Prime Minister David Cameron said the government was ‘deeply concerned’ about the violence in Marseille at the weekend and ‘welcomes’ the UEFA investigation.

She said: ‘The majority of England fans want to go there, enjoy the tournament, see their team do well and enjoy the football, and are going about it in a peaceful way.

‘Clearly we need to look at these issues. The police have been doing a lot of work in the run up.’

She added: ‘There had been engagement through our staff in Moscow.

‘We have raised our concerns about what happened and want to look at how we can improve it going forward.’

She added that Britain continues to ‘work closely’ with the French authorities.

Credit:Daily Mail