History teacher jailed for football hooliganism07/05/2004 - 20:19:23
A respectable history teacher “at the top of his profession” was starting a jail sentence tonight for his secret role as the linchpin of a network of violent football hooligans.
Dave Walker, head of year at a Birmingham boys’ school, was in fact a “bedroom general“, building up contacts with hooligans and putting disparate groups of yobs in contact with each other.
The lifelong Southampton and England fan dubbed himself “Three Lions” and played a key role “organising the troops and the fighting” across the country.
Walker, aged 37, a married father, who was described as an “outstanding teacher” with an “exemplary record“, received glowing tributes from pupils and staff at the school where he worked.
But he was jailed for two years and three months at Kingston Crown Court today for orchestrating a violent brawl along a platform of a busy railway station.
He posted messages on internet forums setting up the confrontation between 30 Charlton supporters and 15 Southampton fans before a match in London.
Passengers fled in fear and children were heard screaming as the mob rampaged through the station wielding and hurling broken beer bottles.
A total of 17 men have now been imprisoned for a total of 38 years following the two-minute clash at Maze Hill, south east London, in April 2002, dubbed the “Battle of Maze Hill“, which left three men in hospital.
Police believe many of those jailed had been planning violence ahead of this summer’s European Championships in Portugal.
Following the hearing today, Detective Inspector Karl Skrzypiec, who led what was one of the largest ever investigations into football hooliganism, described Walker as a “key organiser of violence across the country“.
“Without him, this particular violence would have never happened, he was crucial to putting the rival supporters in touch with each other,” he said.
“It’s hard to believe considering his position and he will pay a great cost.
“He was virtually at the top of his profession and should be a role model - but in the background he secretly organises football hooliganism.”
Walker was suspended from his job at Turves Green Boys’ Technology College in February 2004 after charges were brought against him.
The school’s governors would now decide whether Walker should be sacked, Birmingham City Council said.
Walker, of Weston Road, Stafford, had pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit violent disorder.
Judge Mitchell reduced his sentence by half as a result of his guilty plea, but branded him a “bedroom general” and said: “One cannot help but feel revulsion for your part in this conspiracy.
“There you were talking about the way you would fight and incite others to do the same when it is clear that you would not move from your computer.”
In addition to Walker, fellow hooligan Steven David Carpenter, 39, of Kingslywood Drive, Eltham, was jailed for four years today.
Andrew McConville, 35, of Howarth Road, Abbeywood, William Joseph Greenall, 32, of Barth Road, Plumstead, Woolwich, Neil John Shaw, 39, of Frinstead Road, Erith, Christopher David Bowles, 22, of Holmsland Drive, Southampton, and Stephen Trevor Openshaw, 30, of Wenlock Road, Leigh, Lancashire, were all jailed for two years.
All seven men had been convicted or pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit violent disorder and were made the subject of six year football banning orders.
Walker was not the only member of the network to hold a responsible job while organising hooliganism.
McConville was a postman, Carpenter was a delivery driver and Greenall was a builder.
Around 150 officers from British Transport Police, Hampshire and the Metropolitan Police took part in the operation – codenamed Fabric – to crack the hooligan gang, combing through websites and scores of e-mails.
Police officers conducted dawn raids at 22 addresses in Hampshire and London, seizing computers and telephones which helped to unravel the “organised and intense” planning and uncovered the names of the chief instigators.
DI Skrzypiec said that there was “no doubt” members of the gang had intended to cause trouble whilst following England in this summer’s European Championships and claimed their sentences should act as a serious deterrent to troublemakers.
Referring to the jail terms the hooligans received, he said: “Lives have been wrecked for two minutes of violence, so my question to hooligans is ’Is it worth it’.”
Gary John Dixon, 43, of Marlborough Lane, Charlton, and Richard White, 27, of Proctor Close, Southampton, were earlier both jailed for four years, Paul Christopher Walsh, 26, of Floyd Road, Charlton, for 14 months and Francis John Walsh, 30, of Floyd Road, Charlton, for a year.
Elliot Jon Tapping, 36, of Clifton Walk, Dartford; Spencer English, 32, of Ladywood Road, Darenth, Kent; Malcolm George Tuck, 37, of Brownhill Road, Southampton, Thomas George Menzies, 23, of Northcott Avenue, Wood Green; Joseph Roderick Menzies, 22, of Northcott Avenue, Wood Green and Sam Robert Sheehy, 27, of Firman, Crescent, Winchester, were handed two year sentences.
The men were also made the subject of six-year football banning orders, forbidding them from attending UK matches or travelling to foreign fixtures.
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