Injured ex-Army Clarets fan reacted angrily to 'spastics' jibe
4:00pm Wednesday 5th September 2012 in News
AN ex-Army Clarets fan with friends left disabled by war injuries lunged at a Bolton Wanderers supporter after chant thats Burnley FC followers were just “spastics," a court was told.
Burnley magistrates were told that Steven Woods, 36, who had had comrades seriously injured in battle, saw red at the remark, said to have been made by a group of away supporters.
A police officer on duty after the Burnley v Bolton match at Turf Moor, on August 18, saw Woods grab hold of a rival fan and raise his fist as if to punch him.
Woods, now a student, of Bivel Street, Burnley, admitted using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour. He was given an 18 month conditional discharge. The Crown did not apply for a football banning order.
Parveen Akhtar, prosecuting, said Burnley had played Bolton Wanderers at Turf Moor and both home and away supporters had left the ground.
After 5pm, the officer was deployed on crowd control on Yorkshire Street and Woods seemed to take exception at comments made by agroup of Wanderers supporters. The defendant had appeared to lunge at a male, grabbed hold of him and raised his fist as if to punch him.
Miss Akhtar said when Woods was questioned by police, he said he had taken exception to the chants by the groups of Wanderers fans that Burnley supporters were “spastics”
He said he had remonstrated with one of them by pushing him against a wall. The defendant was in breach of a conditional discharge which had been imposed for common assault.
Trevor Grice, defending, said Woods had co-operated with police and admitted the offence. He had been to the football match, had not been unruly, there had been no problems and he had been walking away from the ground peaceably.
Woods had been in the Army and had served his country. The solicitor said: “He knows many people who are, as a result of that, disabled and took exception to Bolton Wanderers fans shouting ‘spastics’ He never meant any harm.”
The bench chairwoman told the defendant: “It could have escalated. It could have become a major incident, with everybody pitching in. You are now 36. You should be at the stage where you can control your temper and walk away.”