Glasgow & West Scotland

Police attack football casual Gary Russo jailed

A football casual who bottled a senior police officer during a "massive" fight with rival fans in North Lanarkshire has been jailed for three years.

Gary Russo, 34, from Airdrie, smashed the bottle over Det Sgt Raymond Hughes' head on 13 April 2013.

The attack happened during a pre-arranged fight in Coatbridge involving fans of Airdrie and Ayr United.

Russo, who was convicted at Airdrie Sheriff Court, was also banned from all UK football grounds for five years.

Co-accused Keith Main, 45, also from Airdrie, had previously pleaded guilty to punching Det Sgt Hughes on the head.

'Extreme violence'

Main was sentenced to 250 hours of community service and also banned from all UK football grounds for five years.

During Russo's trial, Det Sgt Hughes, who has since been promoted to Detective Inspector, gave evidence, along with fellow officers Det Con Sajia Ali, PC John Howley, PC Lauren Kelly and Det Sgt Alasdair McMorrin.

Jailing Russo, Sheriff Petra Collins said: "Two rival groups of football casuals were fighting on a massive scale.

"I cannot commend officers Hughes and Ali highly enough. They required to calm a situation of extreme violence.

"If it had not been for their prompt actions then the injuries to persons and property would have been far worse. "

The sheriff added: "Russo, you were convicted of a jury of assaulting a police officer, kicking him on the body, knocking him the ground and striking him on the head to his permanent disfigurement. You will go to prison for three years, the sentence to run from today."

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