Belfast Telegraph

Glentoran fan ends up in court after boasting of attack on Linfield teenagers

BY ASHLEIGH McDONALD

A Glentoran fan who was part of a mob that attacked teenage Linfield fans was only caught because he boasted about the attack on a social networking website, a court has heard.

Darren Ralph Kirk was handed an 18-month sentence, suspended for 18 months, after he pleaded guilty to a charge of affray on January 26, 2010.

Belfast Crown Court heard that at the time of the incident, the young Linfield supporters – two boys and a girl – were aged 14, 15 and 16.

Some of the comments posted by the unemployed thug on Bebo afterwards included: "See the look on your faces when we chased you with our hoods up."

The father-of-one also wrote about how "we chased them and sorted them out."

When one Bebo user said the people attacked were children, Kirk replied: "Don't comment if you weren't there."

He also wrote about "a boot and a smack in the face" and when the police were mentioned, Kirk said "any tout that hands my name in and you will see. That's all I'm saying."

Judge Corrinne Philpott told 24-year-old Kirk, from Vionville Close, Belfast: "Your conduct was absolutely disgraceful."

She said if he hadn't boasted about his involvement in the affray on Bebo, he may never have been brought before the court.

The attack happened after a football match at the Oval. Crown prosecutor David McClean said that when the game ended, a group of people were standing at a bus stop when they were approached by an "aggressive" crowd of up to 20 Glentoran fans.

One of the group assaulted a bystander by pushing him against a billboard and throwing him onto the road.

Mr McClean said a second more serious incident took place a short time later at the Bridge End train station, where three teenage Linfield fans, who had become separated from other fans, noticed a group of between 35 to 50 Glentoran people walking towards them.

A bottle was thrown at the trio which smashed in front of them. One of the teenage boys was brought to the ground and kicked, and when the teenage girl tried to intervene, a "member of the group told her to shut up and punched her in the mouth." She was also kicked by a member of the group.

The court heard a member of the public came to the assistance of the teenagers, who fled the scene across a nearby footbridge.

Defence barrister Richard McConkey acknowledged Kirk had implicated himself in the "unsavoury incident" and said that since it occurred, Kirk had not attended any football matches.

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