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Six England fans jailed over taking part in Euro 2016 violence

By Tom White

Published 13/06/2016

French riot police officers move along an England supporter in downtown Marseille, France, Saturday, June 11, 2016. Riot police have thrown tear gas canisters at soccer fans Saturday in Marseille's Old Port in a third straight day of violence in the city. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)
French riot police officers move along an England supporter in downtown Marseille, France, Saturday, June 11, 2016. Riot police have thrown tear gas canisters at soccer fans Saturday in Marseille's Old Port in a third straight day of violence in the city. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

Six England fans have been jailed for taking part in the violence that involved 150 "hyper violent" Russian hooligans in Marseille.

The men, who all appeared at court in the city during a five hour session, were imprisoned for between one to three months and banned from France for two years.

The father of 20-year-old Alexander Booth, the youngest to be jailed, was seen crying outside of court and said he would fight the conviction.

It followed a French prosecutor announcing that not a single Russian hooligan had been arrested, despite there being reportedly 150 of them.

Booth and Ian Hepworth were the first fans to be dealt with after the widespread trouble in the French port city, which left another fan with severe head injuries and Euro 2016 organiser Uefa threatening to ban England and Russia if there is any repeat.

Booth, 20, from Huddersfield, was jailed for two months for throwing a bottle at police and banned from France for two years.

Hepworth, 41, a psychiatric nurse from Sheffield, was given a three month sentence for the same offence and the same ban.

Ashley Kelly, 26, from Birmingham, was imprisoned for three months and given a two-year ban from France for throwing seven bottles outside the stadium.

The court heard the construction worker is a single father who lives with his parents.

Paul Jackson, 21, from Halifax, received one month in jail after he threw bottles at police and supporters on Saturday.

Lee Phillips, 23, from Taunton, was also jailed for one month for throwing bottles at a woman, who also threw some back.

Steven Cornell, 28, was the sixth England fan to be jailed and was given two months.

The injured England fan, Andrew Bache, 50, from Portsmouth, was in a critical condition in a French hospital after being beaten round the head by Russians armed with iron bars.

Russian fans also charged at England supporters in the Stade Velodrome after the two teams drew 1-1 on Saturday night.

But Brice Robin, chief Marseille prosecutor, told reporters that no Russian fans had been arrested in connection with the violence.

Mr Robin said about 150 Russian hooligans had been involved in the trouble, describing them as "hyper violent" and "hyper rapid".

But just two Russian fans had been arrested, both for a pitch invasion, he said.

Mr Robin said officials had been unable to stop the Russian thugs as they had arrived in the city by train.

Home Secretary Theresa May said England fans involved in the "inexcusable" violence in Marseilles have let their country down.

And England manager Roy Hodgson and captain Wayne Rooney have appealed directly to fans to "stay out of trouble" following Uefa's threat to expel the team from Euro 2016.

The pair recorded a video, shared by the Football Association on Twitter, in which Hodgson asked fans to ensure that Uefa's threats to dismiss England and Russia "are never carried out".

Uefa branded the behaviour of both England and Russia fans before and after the game ''unacceptable'' and said it would not hesitate to impose additional sanctions.

The tournament organiser also opened disciplinary proceedings against the Russian Football Union for alleged crowd disturbances, racist behaviour and the setting-off of fireworks by its fans during the game.

Meanwhile, a Northern Ireland football fan died after a fall in Nice following the team's 1-0 defeat by Poland.

Darren Rodgers, 25, from Ballymena, Co Antrim, toppled 26ft (8m) over a barrier from a promenade on to a hard pebble beach in the south coast city at around 2am on Monday, police said.

Asked whether David Cameron was concerned that England could be expelled from Euro 2016 over hooliganism, the Prime Minister's official spokeswoman said: "The Government is deeply concerned by the violence in Marseille at the weekend, including the reports of fans being attacked by rival supporters."

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