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Soccer fans have jail terms quashed

PUBLISHED: 16:44 07 May 2009 | UPDATED: 15:14 07 July 2010

Three Norwich City fans, including one from Bawdeswell, caught up in a "running battle" through the streets of Leicester which terrified Saturday afternoon shoppers had their jail terms quashed by top judges on appeal yesterday.

Three Norwich City fans, including one from Bawdeswell, caught up in a “running battle” through the streets of Leicester which terrified Saturday afternoon shoppers had their jail terms quashed by top judges on appeal last week.

Michael John Davies, 39, Mark Andrew Gilby, 44, and Mark Trevor Hipperson, 39, were among fans who ran amok after the game against Leicester City on February 16 last year.

Street furniture and rocks were hurled by some fans, though

Davies, of Guernsey Road, Norwich, Gilby, of Greenacres Drive, Poringland, and Hipperson, of

Saxon Meadows, Bawdeswell, only shouted and gestured at rival Leicester fans following a defeat for their team.

All three were jailed for three months and given six-year football banning orders after pleading guilty at Leicester Crown Court on March 5 to threatening behaviour.

On Wednesday last week, Mr Justice Lloyd Jones, sitting with Judge Stephen Stewart QC at London's Criminal Appeal Court, quashed those sentences and replaced them with year-long supervision orders.

The length of the football banning orders was also reduced to five years.

Lawyers for the three argued yesterday that they were all “hard-working family men” who were “caught up in the violence”.

The court heard Davies was married and worked as a project designer for EDF Energy, and Hipperson ran his own printing business employing seven people.

Condemning their actions and those of the others involved, Mr Justice Lloyd Jones said: “It was a matter of pure chance that nobody was injured.

“This type of behaviour has nothing to do with football. It was gratuitous thuggery.

“They didn't have the excuse of youth. All of them were aware of the consequences of what they had done, to the terror of innocent people in the city centre.

“It caused a considerable danger

to members of the public going

about their lawful business in Leicester City Centre on Saturday afternoon.”

But he added that all three had not been actually involved in any violence and were of previous good character.

Overturning the jail terms, the appeal judge concluded: “Having regard to all these factors, we consider that the sentences were too severe.”

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