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Teammates in court over punch-up at Ipswich football club fundraiser

14:17 04 January 2016

Whitton united club house Ipswich

Whitton united club house Ipswich

Two friends who play in the same Ipswich football team have been given curfews after having a punch-up at a club fundraiser.

Michael Crowley, 42, of Shakespeare Road, Ipswich, and James Johnstone, 46, of Mildmay Road, Ipswich, both admitted threatening behaviour when they appeared in separate hearings before the town’s magistrates’ court.

Prosecutor Colette Harper said the incident occurred at Whitton United’s clubhouse early on December 6.

A large group were in the car park when a female stumbled to the ground and the two men began fighting and exchanging punches, with Johnstone being hit in the head at least four times.

The court was told both men had previous convictions.

At his hearing Crowley, a ground worker who represented himself, said he was at a fundraising event for a friend who needed a liver transplant.

Johnstone’s girlfriend, who had been Crowley’s ex-partner, allegedly came up to him and barged past.

The court was told the pair had an exchange of words before it was said their animosity had gone on long enough and they should put it behind them.

However, Crowley said Johnstone was pointing his finger at him and swearing.

Crowley told the court he ignored his friend, walked away and carried on enjoying his night.

Crowley alleged that at the end of the night Johnstone barged past him.

The court heard Crowley said to his teammate: “What’s your problem. We are meant to be mates.”

It was said Johnstone kept being abusive and a scuffle broke out.

Crowley told the court: “He kept going on and on. I said ‘let’s sort things out’.”

It was then alleged that Johnstone pushed Crowley’s current girlfriend to the floor so he punched Johnstone.

During Johnstone’s hearing the scaffolder also admitted threatening behaviour the same night after he went to the Accident and Emergency department at Ipswich Hospital.

The 46-year-old repeatedly used abusive language to staff.

The father-of-four accepted his offences put him in breach of a six-month conditional discharge he was given after a disturbance at his ex-partner’s home.

Paul Donegan, representing Johnstone, said his client did not start the fight with Crowley and “certainly came off worst”.

District Judge Sandeep Kainth sentenced Crowley to a community order with a four-week curfew from 8pm to 6am.

He must also pay £145 in court charges.

Johnstone’s conditional discharge was revoked and he was re-sentenced to a £75 fine.

For the threatening behaviour offences Johnstone was given a community order with a five-week curfew from 9pm to 6am Tuesday to Saturday.

He must also pay £145 in court charges.

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