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Accused of football violence; 6 on trial over disorder allegation.

Byline: Paul Beard Court Reporter

SIX men have gone on trial over their alleged parts in the violence which marred an FA Cup game between Atherstone Town and Barrow FC almost two years ago.

All six have denied a charge of violent disorder following the incident at half time in a third-round qualifying match - described as "the biggest game in Atherstone Town's history" - in October 2013.

Warwick Crown Court heard that Matthew Evans, aged 22, of Long Street, Atherstone, and Lewis Cooper, aged 21, of Leicester Crescent, Atherstone, were in a group which made its way round the pitch at half-time to the stand housing the Barrow fans.

Roy Hall, aged 51, of Denham Close, Daniel Austin, aged 29, of St George's Road, Samuel Barsby, aged 24, of Austin Close, and Ben Brookes, aged 22, of Daniel Road, all Atherstone, are said to have been in a second wave of men who then ran across the pitch.

Prosecutor David Lee said the incident happened at half-time as Atherstone Town was 4-0 down against a much stronger Barrow FC.

The away team's 80-plus supporters were housed in a stand on the far side of the pitch to the majority of the home fans, with an empty area behind the goal at one end to separate them.

But at half-time a group of Atherstone supporters climbed over a wall at the front of their stand to get past a barrier, and then walked round behind the goal to get to the Barrow stand, ignoring the attempts of stewards to stop them.

One of the Atherstone players had his mobile phone with him, and when a number of others then ran across the pitch to get to the incident he recorded what was happening. And photographers at the game between them took hundreds of pictures of what took place - which Mr Lee said the police had collated and put into 'story boards' relating to each defendant.

Mr Lee pointed out: "To be guilty of violent disorder you do not have to actually use violence.

"It is sufficient to encourage others who were going to fight.

"This was an incident which caused the Barrow fans who were trying to get away to rush at the gates.

"It was a terrifying incident, but not without some instances where you can see the Barrow supporters were still able to maintain some dignity."

Mr Lee said ten Barrow supporters were injured during the violence.

The trial continues.

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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Oct 1, 2015
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