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13 football thugs convicted of affray

Video: Good Friday fight ends in jail sentences and bans

Thirteen men have been found guilty of football related violence, following a mass brawl at an Exeter pub last year. 

The thugs got into a fight at the King Billy in Longbrook Street in the city centre after Plymouth Argyle fans stopped off in the city on their way home from a Plymouth Argyle match at Portsmouth on Good Friday last year.

All the defendants at the trail at Exeter Crown Court this week were were Plymouth Argyle or Exeter City supporters. Fifteen men were eventually charged, but Stuart Wheeler, 40, from Beacon Heath, Exeter was acquitted and Sheridan Davey age 46 from Weston Super Mare was found not guilty.

The following men pleaded guilty to affray before the start of the trial and were sentenced as follows:

  • Wayne Rowland, 50, from Rexona Close, Alphington: 12 months in prison, suspended for two years, ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and received a four year football banning order.
  • Matthew Rowland, 21, from Rexona Close, Alphington: 32 week in jail suspended for two years,160 hours of unpaid work plus a four year football banning order.
  • Matthew High, 19, Morchard Road, Crediton: 47 week in jail suspended for two years,180 hours of unpaid work plus a five year football banning order.   
  • Alan Phillips, 49 from Ladysmith Road ,Heavitree, Exeter: 12 months in jail suspended for two years plus a curfew for 20 weeks from 9pm-6am.
  • Nick Spinoulas, 22, from East John Walk, Newtown, Exeter: 12 months in jail suspended for two years, 200 hours of unpaid work plus a four year football banning order.
  • Oliver Southern, 22, from Anthony Road, Heavitree, Exeter: 42 week in jail suspended for two years,160 hours of unpaid work plus a five year football banning order.
  • Jamie Baker, 32, from Homer Park, Saltash was handed 48 week in jail suspended for two years,180 hours of unpaid work plus a five year football banning order.   
  • Steve Dyke, 42, from Bulmer Road, St Judes, Plymouth failed to appear for sentencing and there is now a warrant issued for his arrest.

The following men chose to take their case to trial. They were found guilty of affray and received the following sentences.   

  • Mark Langdon, 27, from Austen Close, Whipton, Exeter: 12 months in jail suspended for two years. Langdon, who has previous football-related violence to his name was given 200 hours of unpaid work plus 20 days rehabilitation. He was issued with a five year football banning order.
  • Stefan Szypillo, 54, from Hamlin Gardens Exeter: jailed for six months suspended for two years and a five-month night time curfew.
  • Chris Ashton, 41, from Welsford Avenue, Stoke, Plymouth Ashton: 12 months in jail suspended for two years. Ashton who has previous football-related violence to his name must do 250 hours of unpaid work. He was issued with a four year football banning order.
  • George Photiou, 24, from Hamilton Gardens, Mutley, Plymouth: six- months in jail suspended for two years, plus 200 hours of unpaid work and a ban from Plymouth Argyle games for two years.
  • Wayne Brownlow, 46, from Westcountry Close, Weston Mill, Plymouth: nine months in jail, suspended for two years. He was given a drug rehabilitation order, a mental health requirement and 20 days rehabilitation with probation. Brownlow who has previous football-related violence to his name was issued with a four year football banning order.

Chief Inspector Russ Dawe, said: “This has been a lengthy investigation undertaken by Devon and Cornwall Police and assisted by the recently restructured Sporting Events department. Any form of violence or hate crime will not be tolerated by Devon and Cornwall Police or our local football clubs. 

A spokesperson from Plymouth Argyle, said: "Plymouth Argyle completely disassociates itself from these offenders and their behaviour. There is no place for them in football, and, as such, they are not welcome at Home Park.”

Julian Tagg, chairman of Exeter City Football Club, said: “Since the club was taken over by the Supporters' Trust more than 15 years ago we have been extremely proud of our safety record and reputation that Exeter City Football Club has for being a friendly and safe place to come.

“We work closely with Devon and Cornwall Police before and on match days to ensure everyone enjoys coming to our family club. This incident took place well away from the club and was very much an isolated incident. We are grateful for the swift action and perseverance of the police in dealing with this isolated incident. The club takes a zero tolerance on violence of any nature and do not welcome anybody at the ground that want to engage in this kind of behaviour.”

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