1 week ago
A rowdy fan who punched the captain of his team’s top rival during a game in the English Championship has been jailed for 14 weeks after pleading guilty to assault.
In the 10th minute of Saturday’s match, Birmingham City supporter Paul Mitchell ran onto the pitch and punched Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish.
After taking the hit from the 27-year-old fan, Grealish was sent sprawling to the turf. Shaken up by the expected blow, Grealish was able to continue playing and eventually scored Villa’s second-half winner.
During a Monday appearance at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court, Mitchell pleaded guilty to assault and invading the pitch and was given the 14-week sentence.
Mitchell was also banned from attending matches at soccer stadiums for 10 years and ordered to pay £350 in fines.
“I cannot help but feel how lucky I was in this incident,” Grealish said in a statement that was read in court. “It could have been so much worse had the supporter had some sort of weapon.”
During his defense, Mitchell’s lawyer revealed his client’s family has been forced to move thanks to fears of “serious harm or even death.”
Vaughn Whistance also said Mitchell “cannot explain what came over himself.”
“His initial foolish intention was to go onto the pitch to whip up the crowd,” Whistance said. “He is certainly remorseful today. He is a man with a partner, they have a 2-year-old together and they’re expecting their second child.”Read the full story at ESPN