EDL supporters sentenced to 60 years for Walsall disorder

19/12/2013

Thirty-one men from around the country, aged between 18 and 59, have been handed down sentences totalling 60 years and eight months at Wolverhampton Crown Court for their part in the 2012 disorder which broke out in Walsall following an English Defence League (EDL) demonstration.

On 29 September 2012, over 600 supporters of the EDL held a demonstration in the town centre. A counter demonstration was also being held nearby by the Unite Against Fascism group. Keeping the two groups apart was a line of West Midlands Police officers.

During the day, the atmosphere between the two groups turned hostile and as the police sought to keep the groups apart,  supporters of the EDL began throwing missiles at the police.

As a consequence, a number of police officers and EDL stewards were injured with some requiring medical treatment.

A police investigation was launched in order to identify those responsible for the trouble and a number of men were arrested and charged with violent disorder.

Robin Allen, Senior Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said:

"On 29 September, the English Defence League had arranged for their supporters from around the country to assemble in Walsall for a demonstration. It is the right of anyone to hold a peaceful assembly and Article 10 of the European Commission for Human Rights provides the right for freedom of expression; however, on that day, the supporters of the EDL went far beyond freedom of expression or a peaceful assembly.

"Fuelled by hate and alcohol, a section of the group, instigated by key figures within the demonstration, began to direct their anger towards the counter demonstration. As police then sought to contain the group, supporters of the EDL began throwing missiles.

"Police officers were then exposed to some of the worst violence that they have been subjected to in a public order situation. Concrete slabs, bricks and a table leg were among some of the various items which were used as weapons and thrown at the officers.   

"Those engaged in such reprehensible conduct paid little regard to what they were doing or who they were attacking, as during their orgy of violence, a number of their own EDL stewards, as well as police officers, were seriously injured.

"A year on from those violent scenes those responsible for their actions that day have been arrested, brought to justice and now they have to face the consequences for their actions."  

This week, the following men were sentenced for their part in the disorder:

Douglas Ralston ( aged 53) pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 20 months

Darron Davies (49) pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 22 months

Neil MacDiarmid (50) pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 15 months

Alan Turnbull (32) pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 26 months

Stephen Currien (30) pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 28 months

Lee Rogers (26) pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 24 months

Gary Lycett (55) pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 26 months

Jack Lambert (25) pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 14 months

Michael Thomas (49) pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 28 months

Jack Clark (220 pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 16 months

Christopher Boyall (31) pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 24 months

Benjamin Banfield (35) pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 20 months

Mark Baker (44) pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 21 months

Dean Lidster (44) pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 28 months

Craig Forward (38) pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 25 months

Stephen Bennett (23) pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 20 months

Christopher Jelley (28) pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 22 months

Myles Smith (39) pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 24 months

Nicholas Cooper (28) pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 27 months

Peter Kirkham (30) pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 14 months

Mark Conroy (35) pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 30 months

Kirk Reeves (40) pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 18 months

Richard Schulz (38) found guilty after trial to violent disorder and sentenced to 42 months

Dean Smith (33) found guilty after trial to violent disorder and sentenced to 27 months

John Cureton (48) found guilty after trial to violent disorder and sentenced to 36 months

Kirk Jones (28) found guilty after trial to violent disorder and sentenced to 33 months

Ronald Hatton (59) pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 20 months, suspended for two years and 200 hours unpaid work.

Leslie Silk (37) pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 18 months, suspended for two years with 200 hours unpaid work.

Samuel Phipps (18) pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 16 months, suspended for two years, 200 hours unpaid work.

Duncan Smith (43) pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 20 months, suspended for two years, 200 hours unpaid work.

Lee Coxshall (34) pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 14 months, suspended for two years and ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work