Belfast Telegraph

Monday 15 September 2014

Englishman joined Belfast riots 'to fit in with the locals'

PSNI officers stop Orangemen and loyalists from marching along the Woodvale Road in Belfast during last year's Twelfth celebrations
PSNI officers stop Orangemen and loyalists from marching along the Woodvale Road in Belfast during last year's Twelfth celebrations
Loyalists protesting in the Woodvale area of north Belfast
FLASHBACK TO JULY 2013: Loyalists protesting in the Woodvale area of north Belfast
12.07.13. PICTURE BY DAVID FITZGERALD
Riots kick off at Woodvale as the parades are not allowed to pass Ardoyne.
12.07.13. PICTURE BY DAVID FITZGERALD Riots kick off at Woodvale as the parades are not allowed to pass Ardoyne.

Englishman  Jake Watkiss  joined rioters a week after arriving in Belfast to show he could "fit in with the locals", a court heard.

Watkiss and another man from the Midlands are accused of using a wheelie bin full of masonry to attack police in the north of the city.

Police said the pair were captured on CCTV taking part in street violence in the Mount Vernon estate for up to 45 minutes on Monday night.

Watkiss, 24, and Luke Ridley, 23, are each charged with riotous assembly.

Both men were released on bail after a judge was told they have made full admissions.

Ridley, of Ross House, Mount Vernon Road, was said to have lived in Northern Ireland for the last three or four years.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard Watkiss moved in with him last week in a bid to make a fresh start after ending a relationship in Wolverhampton.

"He foolishly got involved to demonstrate he can fit in with the locals," a defence lawyer said.

The solicitor said Watkiss and Ridley have each accepted taking part in the rioting and will ultimately face punishment.

Opposing their release, a police officer stressed tensions remain high across the city and beyond.

But Deputy District Judge Bonita Boyd granted bail to both men.

She imposed night-time curfews and banned them from being within 500 metres of any parade, protest or demonstration.

Meanwhile, a controversial bid by Belfast Orangemen to march the same route from which they were banned last week, triggering days of loyalist rioting in the city, will be ruled on today.

The Parades Commission adjudication body, which barred Orange Order lodges from passing the nationalist Ardoyne area in north Belfast last Friday night, will consider the unexpected application for Saturday's new event.

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