CHILDREN had to run for cover amid “serious mob violence” as a mass brawl broke out between rival supporters at a boxing event in Leeds.
A court heard families had to climb into the boxing ring for safety and other youngsters had to be ushered into a cloak room as violence erupted at the event at Leeds United’s centenary pavilion.
A total of 16 people were today handed sentences totalling more than 20 years after pleading guilty to violent disorder over the incident on February 18 this year.
Leeds Crown Court heard the widespread disruption broke out between rival fans supporting boxers who were opponents in one of the scheduled bouts at the event.
Phillip Adams, prosecuting, said 700 tickets were sold for the event in which 11 amateur bouts were to be staged throughout the evening.
The prosecutor said there had been an “exchange of insults” on social media between supporters of rival boxers from Leeds and Wakefield in the run-up to the event.
Organisers were aware of the trouble and efforts were made to separate the two groups on the night.
At the end of the fight the bell sounded and there was incident between one of the boxers and his opponent’s trainer which acted as a “catalyst” for the violence.
The court heard people pushed forward and chairs were thrown as around 50 people began fighting with each other, including women.
Security guards were powerless to stop the fighting which lasted around 15 minutes.
Mr Adams said: “The scene was one of total chaos.”
Security staff ushered injured people and children into a cloakroom for safety. One man was struck on the back of the head and wounded.
Fighting also continued outside the venue.
Much of the incident was captured on CCTV and people took mobile phone footage which was later posted on Youtube.
Sentencing the defendants, judge Geoffrey Marson, QC, said: “Each of you made the deliberate decision to become involved in that violence and add to it.
“I have seen the CCTV footage. It shows a period of serious violence involving not only fighting but the throwing of missiles.
“Many more were involved.
“It is a miracle someone was not seriously injured.
“The affect on innocent members of the public, including children, was significant.
“Serious mob violence in these circumstances is so serious that, in my judgement, my public duty requires me to pass immediate custodial sentences.
Detective Superintendent Lisa Atkinson, Head of Crime for the Leeds District, said: “What was witnessed that night were some really ugly scenes of violence and disorder on a large scale.
“The behaviour of those involved was utterly appalling and put people in fear for their safety.
“It completely ruined the event for the hundreds of other people who were there to enjoy the evening.
“We worked closely with the venue’s owners Leeds United Football Club, and through painstaking analysis of CCTV and other enquiries we were able to identify the majority of those responsible and arrest them.
“Those convicted have now had to answer for their actions on the night, and we hope this will send a very clear message to others of the consequences that people will face if they seek to settle their differences through violent and unlawful means.
“The safety of people attending public events is always our main consideration and we will continue to work with the organisers of any such licensed events to support and advise them so we can minimise the potential risk of crime and disorder.”
Those sentenced at Leeds Crown Court for violent disorder were:
Patrick Lock, 25, of no fixed address, sentenced to 12 months
Debbie Brear, 30, of Snapethorpe Road, Lupset, Wakefield, sentenced to eight months.
Jack Burgess, 20, of Montcalm Crescent, Hunslet, Leeds, sentenced to 18 months.
Nathan Conroy, 24, of Brooklands Avenue, Seacroft, Leeds, sentenced to 16 months.
Jonathan Djambe, 22, Doncaster Road, Pontefract, sentenced to six months.
Darren Fisher, 30, of Heald Street, Castleford, sentenced to 14 months
Ricky Flint, 24, of Petersfield Avenue, Belle Isle, sentenced to 18 months.
Thomas Hall, 30, of Recreation Grove, Holbeck, sentenced to 12 months.
Liam Mudd, 26, of Clough Court, Morley, sentenced to 18 months.
Kayne Regan, 21, of O’Grady Square, Cross Green, Leeds, sentenced to two years.
Nathan Reynolds, 28, of Walker Lane, Wortley, sentenced to 12 months.
Andrew Rowse, 32, of Northcote Crescent, Beeston, sentenced to 16 months.
Lewis Shenbanjo, 27, of Blue Hill Crescent, Wortley, sentenced to two years.
Declan Storey, 23, of Charles Avenue, Leeds, sentenced to 12 months.
Martin Wormald, 35, of Keswick Lane, Keswick, Leeds, sentenced to ten months.
Ashley Buss, 24 of Clark Mount, Richmond Hill, Leeds, was also sentenced for an offence of inflicting grievous bodily harm on a 16-year-old boy in a separate incident. He was sentenced to four years.