Father shielded son from violence

A FAMILY man told today how he desperately tried to protect his terrified young son as England fans clashed with police in Ipswich.Paul Marsh, his seven-year-old son and elderly granddad were all hit by flying glass as they huddled together in a bid to avoid getting caught up in the trouble which flaired outside the Old Rep pub in Ipswich.

A FAMILY man told today how he desperately tried to protect his terrified young son as England fans clashed with police in Ipswich.

Paul Marsh, his seven-year-old son and elderly granddad were all hit by flying glass as they huddled together in a bid to avoid getting caught up in the trouble which flaired outside the Old Rep pub in Ipswich.

The violence broke out at the Old Rep Public House before England's friendly game against Croatia on August 20 last year.

Mr Marsh was giving evidence in the trial of Philip Brown, 35, of Felixstowe Road, Ipswich and Kevin Snape, 30, of Belstead Road, Ipswich, who both deny a charge of affray in connection with the incident.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that the Marsh family had been walking along Tower Street when they became caught up in the commotion.

Paul Marsh said he had been walking into town with his son and his 72-year-old father Raymond, his uncle, brother-in-law and nephew to watch the match at Portman Road, when they became aware of the violence.

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Mr Marsh told police: "I was aware of five to eight males outside the Old Rep, they were standing outside the door and I could see a couple of police officers talking to them.

This was not unusual because of the high police presence.

"When we were virtually with the group I heard 'come on then' from that group and males standing in the door of the Old Rep. I saw a beer glass or bottle come from that direction. We ended up standing in the cycle racks opposite the pub - several glasses were being thrown.

"We were being hit by fragments of glass on our lower legs. Me and my son were hit but not injured.

"The males were trying to get out to get the other group. The group outside were saying 'come on'. The police were trying to keep the males in the Old Rep but they were out numbered.

"The adults in my group were trying to shield my son from what was happening. He was frightened and crying. I was frightened for my own safety, my sons and my elderly relatives."

Mr Marsh said he had difficulty sleeping that night as the incident played on his mind.

Robert O'Sullivan prosecuting, said: "The police described how they were frightened by the aggressive and threatening atmosphere. Glasses were thrown and there was some members of the Marsh family who were walking along Tower Street and were hit by flying glass.

"Such was the threat felt by the police that they deployed their batons and hit some of the aggressors' legs."

Mr O'Sullivan said the pub owner, James Blake, saw a group of football supporters walking towards his pub and he saw three policemen talk to them.

Mr O'Sullivan said: "While the three police officers went to speak to that group Mr Blake heard from inside the pub 'the other crew are here, let's go' and a group burst out of the foyer of pub and the police became sandwiched between the two groups."

The trial continues.

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