Pair sentenced after ‘disgraceful’ brawl at Whitton United clubhouse

The Whitton United Football Club

The Whitton United Football Club - Credit: Su Anderson

Crying children had to be comforted by their worried parents during a violent brawl at an Ipswich football clubhouse, a court has heard.

CCTV footage of the incident, which left several people needing medical treatment, showed stools being knocked over and a glass shattering as it was thrown across the bar during the “disgraceful” incident at Whitton United Football Club, Ipswich Crown Court was told.

Before the court were William Harbour, 29, of Woodlands Way, Ipswich, William Beaney, 20, of Woodbridge Road East, Ipswich and Anthony Smith, 28, of Cirencester. All three admitted violent disorder on August 31 last year.

Sentencing Smith and Beaney, Recorder Martyn Levett described the incident as “disgraceful” and said: “I have no doubt that when you look at the CCTV footage there is a feeling of embarrassment on all your parts. Quite frankly this sort of behaviour cannot be tolerated.”

He gave Smith an 18-month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered him to do 250 hours’ unpaid community work. He was also ordered to pay £1,000 costs and made him the subject of a three-month curfew order.

Beaney was given a 12-months in a young offenders institution suspended for two years, ordered to do 180 hours unpaid work and pay £400 costs. Both men were banned from going to Whitton Sports and Social Club in Old Norwich Road for two years.

Sentencing on Harbour was adjourned for up to date medical information to be obtained.

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Matthew Sorel-Cameron, prosecuting, told the court there were around 30 people, including 15 children, at the clubhouse including families attending a birthday celebration and a group containing the defendants.

During the evening, Harbour had asked a man at the bar what he was “glaring at” and when a woman tried to calm Harbour down he ended up scuffling on the floor with her.

Things then “kicked off” and Harbour, Beaney and Smith all threw punches.

Smith took his T-shirt off during the incident and threw a glass across the room causing it to shatter.

The incident lasted less than five minutes and left one man needing surgery to repair a hole in his ear and another man with a swelling on his forehead. “He was shaking and dazed and claimed he was thrown to the floor and kicked to the head,” said Mr Sorel-Cameron.

He said that during the incident crying children were ushered out of the clubhouse into the beer garden. “ Their parents were trying to shield them from what was happening inside,” said Mr Sorel-Cameron.

George Crivelli, for Beaney, said his client had no previous convictions and had acted out of character.

Paul Donegan, for Smith, said his client was in full time work and could do unpaid work in the community.

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