Newbury Racecourse: Swansea-Cardiff brawl men avoid jail

Newbury racecourse Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The court heard the fight at Newbury Racecourse lasted up to 15 minutes

Four men who became caught up in a mass brawl between rival football fans at a racecourse have avoided custodial terms.

The men, all from south Wales, admitted charges of affray in connection with a prolonged episode of violence at Newbury Racecourse, in July 2012.

At Reading Crown Court, each were sentenced to 10 months in prison, suspended for a year.

Four other men involved were acquitted of affray, after a trial in November.

During the latest hearing, the court was told three of the men, Nicholas Southgate, 25, Steven Jones, 42, and Adam Gregory, 26, had attended the race meeting on Saturday, 14 July as part of an 80-strong stag party, organised by members of Gorseinon Rugby Club, near Llanelli.

Organised fight

The fourth, James Farrell, 45, went with a group of Cardiff City supporters.

Judge Zoe Smith also ordered the four to do 200 hours of unpaid work.

The fighting, lasting up to 15 minutes, initially broke out on a grassed area next to the grandstand.

Video footage from Channel 4 Racing and YouTube showed how it quickly spread on to the concourse between the racecourse and the grandstand.

It is believed to have begun as an organised fight between supporters of Cardiff City and Swansea City which then spread to include other people in the vicinity.

Southgate, from Glyn Rhosyn, Gorseinon, Gregory, from Maes-y-Cornell, Pontardawe and Jones, from Kildare Street, Manselton all became involved when the groom-to-be and his father from the Gorseinon stag party, were punched to the ground.

'Previous good character'

Farrell, from Frewer Avenue, Fairwater, Cardiff stepped in to throw "no more than four" punches when he saw his friend bleeding heavily from the face.

Sentencing the men, Judge Smith accepted their previous good character had been a factor in her suspending custody.

She said: "You are all hard-working men with responsibilities and you have all indicated how ashamed you are by your behaviour on that day.

"You all surrendered yourselves to police voluntarily when your pictures were circulated to the press and pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity."

All four men were ordered to pay £200 costs while Farrell was also made subject to a supervision order with a specified activity in relation to alcohol use.

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