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Scots man who pelted PSNI with missiles in Woodvale riots jailed

By Ashleigh McDonald

Published 06/07/2016

Gordon Pringle handed himself in after images appeared on social media of people the PSNI wanted to speak to in connection with violence in the Woodvale area of Belfast
Gordon Pringle handed himself in after images appeared on social media of people the PSNI wanted to speak to in connection with violence in the Woodvale area of Belfast

A Scottish man who took part in rioting last July after travelling to Northern Ireland to watch bands was jailed yesterday.

Gordon Pringle handed himself in after images appeared on social media of people the PSNI wanted to speak to in connection with violence in the Woodvale area of Belfast.

The 43-year old was handed an 18-month sentence at Belfast Crown Court, and was informed he would spend nine months in prison and the remaining nine on supervised licence after being released.

Trouble flared in Woodvale, in the north of the city, on July 13 last year after the Parades Commission banned Orange marchers from passing the Ardoyne shop fronts on their return leg.

More than 20 officers were injured after police lines were pelted with masonry, bottles and other items, with one policeman almost losing an ear.

Pringle, who travelled on his own from his home on Glasgow Road in Paisley to watch the bands, became involved in the violent street disorder after getting "extremely" drunk.

Crown prosecutor Simon Jenkins said Pringle was captured on police CCTV rioting for around 45 minutes.

The defendant was seen pushing a barrier onto a road and throwing seven missiles, including a glass bottle, at police.

While attacking the lines, he covered his face and was spotted encouraging other rioters to do the same to avoid identification.

After his picture was published on Facebook, the defendant handed himself into police.

During interviews, he admitted travelling from Scotland alone to watch the Twelfth parades, explaining that he had gotten drunk, followed a band from the city centre and had found himself in the Woodvale area. When shown footage of the riot and his behaviour, Pringle accepted it was him and said he was ashamed of his actions.

Defence solicitor Pat Kelly told the court that his client's family had disowned him because of what he had done, saying his behaviour was "absolutely appalling and disgraceful".

He also told Judge Sandra Crawford that Pringle, who works as a cleaner, came before the court with a "totally unblemished" criminal record.

The lawyer said that her client had not travelled from Scotland as a member of a band or lodge, but had simply come to stand and watch the parade.

Revealing that the defendant had expressed sincere remorse, Mr Kelly said Pringle could not remember a thing because he was "extremely intoxicated" and had gotten himself "caught up in a situation that he did not fully understand".

Judge Crawford accepted the solicitor's statements, but jailing Pringle she said: "Involvement in violent disorder is a serious offence. You participated in this riot, and that is a very grave matter."

Belfast Telegraph

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