Crystal Palace fans 'hurled glasses at Brighton rivals' in mass brawl in King's Cross, court hears

Croydon Guardian: Footage of the brawl was posted on YouTube Footage of the brawl was posted on YouTube

Crystal Palace fans hurled glasses and threw punches in a violent brawl with rival Brighton supporters while just two police officers desperately tried break up the two hordes, a jury has heard.

The sparring rivals also lobbed sandwich boards as they clashed in King's Cross following their teams' games on November 10.

Eight Palace fans - two from Croydon, three from Epsom, two from Sussex and one from Surrey - are accused of violent disorder during the fight.

James Hackett, 21, of Norbury Avenue in Thornton Heath, Hayden Johnson, 20, of Jesmond Road in Addiscombe, Adam Marshall, 23, of Aston Way in Epsom, Declan Clarke, 22, of Miles Road in Epsom, and Jamie Finch, 23, of Reigate Road in Epsom, are among the group standing trial at Blackfriars Crown Court this week.

They are alleged to have taken part in a brawl outside the Flying Scotsman, a pub and strip bar in Caledonian Road, where Palace fans were drinking after their team's win against Peterborough United earlier that day.

Six Palace fans - including three on trial this week - were banned from matches after admitting fighting with Peterborough fans following that game three hours earlier.

The court heard yesterday the Metropolitan Police had deployed officers to Victoria station, where they anticipated trouble between Palace supporters and Brighton fans returning home from a match in Wolverhampton.

It meant just two officers were on-hand when the fight broke out in King's Cross, where the Brighton fans headed after leaving a train at Euston.

Prosecutor Brendan Morris suggested the two groups may have arranged to meet to fight, which he said was "not unheard of".

He said: "Crystal Palace fans and their most fearsome rivals met in London for what was significant violent disorder in a public place.

"Historically Crystal Palace and Brighton fans have a long-running hatred but this incident took place when the two teams weren't playing each other.

"The rival groups managed to converge in London and meet up. The police anticipated trouble. The only mistake they made was going to the wrong venue.

"It was left to two lone officers, by themselves in the middle of a huge violent group, to try to separate the fans."

The jury watched video footage showing the brawl spilling out onto the road ahead of oncoming traffic, sandwich boards and traffic cones being lobbed, while police officers desperately try to intervene and the pub's landlord holds the door shut to keep brawling fans out.

At one point, a Brighton fan runs into the group of Palace fans and is repeatedly punched before being rescued by officers.

Mr Morris said Palace fans had chanted "we're top of the league" and Brighton supporters chanted "sea, sea, seasiders" before the fight broke out.

He said: "This was the grandstanding before sandwich boards and glasses, both plastic and pub glasses, were thrown. People fall on the floor and are kicked by several people."

James Dean, 26, from Worthing, Dean Kirby, 29, from Newchapel, and James Butler, 22, from Crawley, are also on trial. All eight deny violent disorder and say they were not among the fans caught fighting on film.

Mr Butler and Mr Johnson pleaded guilty to violent disorder last month following a fight with Peterborough fans earlier on November 10. Mr Clarke admitted affray in connection to the same brawl in Peterborough town centre.

All three were handed football banning orders.

The trial continues

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