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Old 11-03-19, 22:32   #1
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Soccer Thug Fan Who Punched Footballer During Game is Jailed

Thug Who Punched Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish is Jailed

Jack Grealish Attacker Paul Mitchell Sentenced to 14 weeks in Prison.

Mitchell, 27, pleaded guilty to assault and to invading the pitch during Aston Villa's win over Birmingham in UK.

Mirror UK, 11 MAR 2019.

Birmingham fan Paul Mitchell has been sentenced to 14 weeks in prison for punching Jack Grealish in the head.

This morning the 27-year-old pleaded guilty to assault and to invading the pitch after admitting he had done it "as a joke".

He returned to court this afternoon, waving to his family and blowing them kisses as he sat handcuffed in the dock.

Mitchell, a father of one and whose partner is expecting another child, learned his fate after 33 minutes of deliberation.

He has been banned from attending any football match in the UK for 10 years and must pay Grealish compensation of £100 as well as a victim surcharge of £150.

Magistrate Alison Fisher said: “We have listened carefully what was said in court today.

”This was an unprovoked assault on a footballer doing his job in front of 23,000 spectators and thousands watching on TV, including families.

Paul Mitchell was sentenced in court (Image: Caters News Agency)

“We note that you have taken responsibility for your actions. However, this type of behaviour is totally unacceptable.

”The sentence must act as a punishment and a deterrent to others in order to send a message to the public and fans and players like Mr Grealish who should be protected at all times.

”We have taken into account mitigation and family circumstances, however, we feel your actions deserve a prison term, one for 14 weeks.”

Mr Whistance Vaughan, defending, had said in mitigation:
"He’s not a man you’d associate with any hooligan groups of football clubs.
"This was a highly-charged fixture and totally out of character. He has accepted his wrongdoing at the first opportunity.

"There’s already been consequences, threats made to his family other social media platforms and that’s his fault that has happened, by putting his family at risk due to foolish behaviour.

Mitchell arriving at court earlier (Image: Caters News Agency)

"Not surprisingly, this case has attracted a lot of national interest and I am mindful that a sentence will act as a deterrent today which would fall outside of the guidelines of common assault.

"No true football fans want to see this sort of behaviour and, thankfully, is very rare.

"This is a 27-year-old man who has come to the court before on a non-violent offence.

"This man will do as the court will tell him to. He’s a family man, they’re at the back at court. They are probably shocked and disgusted at his behaviour like those watching the unpleasant incident.
"His girlfriend is six weeks pregnant with their second child."

Mitchell had to be wrestled off the pitch by stewards after punching Grealish around the head in the ninth minute of Sunday's Birmingham derby.

The Villa star went on to score the winner but the prosecutor told the court the 23-year-old felt "lasting pain".

Grealish was punched from behind (Image: Action Images)

Earlier on Monday, Jonathan Purser, prosecuting, had said:

“Jack Grealish felt a push in the back and a hook to his lower jaw.

"He had just won a corner and had his back to the stand containing Birmingham City supporters.

"The TV footage had captured the defendant running onto the football pitch; Mr Grealish had his back to him, and had his name on the back of his shirt.

"Footage shows [Mitchell] taking a running swing, jumping on the back of Mr Grealish and launching that punch."

Reading out a statement released on behalf of Grealish, Mr Purser added:

“Jack Grealish was shocked and scared because if this person was brazen enough to get on to the pitch, what else could he do?

"He didn’t know person who assaulted him and didn’t antagonise Birmingham City supporters.
"It could have been worse had the person had a weapon."

Birmingham have confirmed the supporter has been given a lifetime ban from St Andrew's.

Mitchell was led away and later arrested (Image: Getty Images)

Mr Purser said:
"The officer who was carrying Mitchell off the pitch said Mitchell thought Mr Grealish was 'a k**b'.
"Mitchell claims he was not intoxicated and was with his father and did it as a joke.

"He did say he was remorseful. It was an unprovoked assault on someone doing his work. There was pain, discomfort and shock."

Earlier, Mitchell's lawyer said his family had had to leave their home due to threats following his arrest after the "high-profile" incident.

Making an application for the court to withhold Mitchell's home address, Mr Whistance, told the court: "There have been various comments posted on different social media

"My client's young family have had to leave their home address to move to outside of Birmingham through fear that they would suffer serious harm or even death."
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