Ipswich football yob banned

AN Ipswich carpenter is banned from football matches for the next three years today after a court heard he is one of the town's most violent football hooligans.

AN Ipswich carpenter is banned from football matches for the next three years today after a court heard he is one of the town's most violent football hooligans.

Peter Meadows, 28, of Ascot Drive, Racecourse, was at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court on October 18 to hear the verdict in a landmark civil case brought by Suffolk police.

After summarising a string of violent behaviour convictions and incidents involving Meadows, District Judge David Cooper said it would be “irrational” not to make a banning order.

“Without a shadow of a doubt he is part of a small minority for whom the attraction of football matches is not the game but the warfare,” Judge Cooper said.

“The applicant [Suffolk police] has established Mr Meadows has caused or contributed to violence or disorder in committing three serious offences related directly or indirectly to football.

“It must surely be the case that it would be irrational not to make a banning order,” he added.

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The powerful legislation prevents Meadows, who previously told The Evening Star he was upset that he was being punished again for offences he committed three years ago, from attending any football games in England and Wales as well as games abroad.

It also stops him from entering the town centre three hours before or after an Ipswich Town or England game and he is not allowed within five miles of a town or city where either of the teams is playing.

The first hearing in the case took place in May.

At that time Meadows was prevented from travelling to the World Cup in Germany as a result of having to remain in England and Wales while fighting the order.

Prior to delivering his verdict Judge Cooper said Meadows argued his case in earlier hearings but had left him unconvinced.

“The argument of Mr Meadows was that although he accepted he had caused violence in the past he wanted to attend games in the future and would not take part in violence or disorder,” Judge Cooper said.

“However I found his demeanour in the witness box cut an entirely unconvincing figure.

“At no time has he expressed any sincere regret for his past conduct or outlined any steps to prevent future bad behaviour,” he added.

Judge Cooper said police had told the court that Ipswich Town Football Club enjoys relatively trouble-free support but needed to provide a “huge” presence for matches due to the “threat” of Meadows and a group of associates.

Meadows was also described as having a “significant impact” on Suffolk Constabulary and one officer described him as “one of Ipswich Town's main risk supporters”.

Judge Cooper said the officer revealed that “where you find Meadows you find other risk supporters”.

Meadows is eligible to contest the ban in two years' time.

He was ordered to pay £3,819.63 costs.

October 1999 - Affray. Nine-month suspended sentence.

A man was attacked with a broken bottle before three men, including Meadows, kicked the victim while he was on the ground.

It was accepted in court that Meadows was not the man with the bottle.

n>March 2003 - Criminal damage. Ordered to pay a fine and costs.

A conviction relating to an incident on June 21, 2002, the day England played Brazil in the quarter final of that year's World Cup tournament in Japan.

Meadows became angry while on a bus and “got up into the face of the driver who thought he was going to be hit”.

He then hit the glass of the door.

n>October 2004 - Threatening behaviour. Sentenced to a community punishment order.

Incident occurred on August 20, 2003, the day England played Croatia in a friendly at Ipswich's Portman Road ground.

Two rival groups were at The Old Rep pub in Tower Street when a group of men in the pub surged towards officers and glasses were thrown from inside the pub.

Shards of glass hit a passing family that included a 72-year-old man and a seven-year-old boy.

n> Meadows was drunk and disorderly in Whitley Bay in November 200 following a match between Ipswich and Newcastle.

n> He had been prosecuted after the Ipswich versus Norwich game in February 1998 following a fracas at the Curve Bar in Princes Street, but was not found guilty of any offence.

n>He appeared in court following the England Denmark World Cup game in 2002 after a brawl but the prosecution was dropped.

n>Meadows was issued with a warning by Suffolk police's football intelligence officer Pc Dave King for acting in an aggressive manner when Ipswich played at Southampton on January 21 this year.

n>Meadows was also said to have abused Pc King when he travelled to Moscow to support Ipswich in the UEFA Cup in 2001 when he walked past the constable and said: “die Kingy, die”.

n>Meanwhile a newspaper photograph was said to show Meadows involved in a pitch invasion when Ipswich played Norwich in September 2003.

SPEAKING to The Evening Star after the case Mr Meadows admitted he had behaved badly in the past but said he was no longer involved in football violence.

He added: “I have been in trouble in the past - that has happened, but the last conviction I have is three years ago and I think it's a shame you can be punished for the same crimes over and over again.

“The financial costs will hit me hard because it is quite a lot of money and I feel I have paid my dues before.

“I think the whole thing was blown out of all proportion. I feel that I have been made an example of because this is the first case of its kind.

“I haven't been in any trouble for over three years but this has dragged on since May and I haven't been able to go on holiday during the summer because my passport was taken away.

“The whole thing has been quite upsetting and I feel the judge didn't really listen to me.

“Unfortunately I have previous convictions but I was punished for them at the time so why should it happen again?

“I can't get away from the facts but I feel strongly about it and now I can no longer watch the club I love.”>