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PLACE FOR JAILED EDL HOOLIGAN; Thug imprisoned for soccer attacks heading for city EXCLUSIVE.

Byline: STEVE JONES

AN ENGLISH Defence League thug jailed for his part in a soccer riot could still be allowed to take up a place at a Midland university.

A-level student Joel Titus, 18, was caught on CCTV throwing objects and brawling with rival hooligans.

His defence team asked an Old Bailey judge not to jail the EDL ringleader after he pleaded guilty to affray, as he had secured a place at the University of Birmingham.

But Titus, who has a string of previous convictions including battery of a journalist, possession of a knife, and making threats to police, was sentenced to nine months.

Yet the teenager has NOT been banned from taking up his place at the University of Birmingham upon his release. A spokeswoman said: "We do not want to deny an applicant a place because of youthful indiscretions, especially when there is genuine remorse expressed.

''However, we must take into account our wider responsibilities to the whole student body and to the wider community.

''Criminal convictions, which must be declared by prospective students, are considered on a case by case basis. These discussions may also involve an applicant's probation officer where relevant.

''We do not discuss individual cases."

Titus had acted as a youth organiser for the EDL and even appeared on the BBC's Newsnight to defend the violent anti-Islamic group.

He was cautioned for battery after punching a journalist at a demonstration against the 'Islamification of Europe' in December 2009. Last summer Titus took part in the soccer riot between Brentford and Leyton Orient supporters in central London. He was captured on CCTV hurling objects at rivals and fighting over a wooden pole with another thug.

Titus later told police he was an Arsenal fan and had been out that night celebrating the end of the football season, when he had become involved in the brawl.

At his sentencing Veronica Ramsden, defending, said he had "done well academically".

She said he was studying for Alevels including media studies, aiming for an A-grade, and that he planned to go on to Birmingham University to pursue a degree. Miss Ramsden said Titus was "heartily sorry" to have been involved in the violence.

But while on bail for the football brawl he was also convicted for threatening behaviour for snarling "f*** off" at a police officer who tried to break up a fight. He is due to be sentenced for that offence at Uxbridge Magistrates' Court in May.

The EDL has held violent protests on the streets of Midland towns and cities including Birmingham, Stoke and Dudley over the past two years. The anti-Islamic group has been involved in running battles with anti-facist protesters and local Muslim groups.

An EDL protest in Leicester in February was policed by more than a thousand riot cops.

CAPTION(S):

CONTROVERSIAL: The EDL in action in the Midlands. 'HEARTILY SORRY': Joel Titus (right) has a place at the University of Birmingham.
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Apr 24, 2011
Words:488
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