Fan admits attacking goalkeeper on pitch22/10/2012 - 11:57:10
A football fan has admitted attacking a goalkeeper after running onto the pitch during a televised football match.
Aaron Cawley (aged 21) from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, pleaded guilty to assault and entering the field following Sheffield Wednesday’s home match against Leeds on Friday night.
He has been jailed for 16 weeks.
Cawley, who appeared at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court, was arrested after Wednesday keeper Chris Kirkland was pushed in the face during the game at Hillsborough.
The incident was one of a number of ugly scenes at the Yorkshire derby, which ended in a 1-1 draw.
Kirkland, who has played for England, was shoved to the ground moments after conceding an equaliser in the 76th minute.
A man was clearly seen running from the Leeds fans onto the pitch and pushed Kirkland in the face before running back into the crowd.
The incident was caught on camera by Sky Sports which was broadcasting the game.
Unemployed labourer Cawley stood in the glass-fronted dock wearing a blue T-shirt which left an "LUFC" tattoo clearly visible on his neck and a Leeds United club crest on his right arm.
The court heard that he had been the subject of two football banning orders in the past, which he had breached four times.
Despite living with his mother in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, he had supported Leeds United all his life and went to every game – home and away, a district judge was told.
Prosecutor Paul Macaulay said Cawley told police he was so drunk he could not remember the incident, which has been seen by millions of TV viewers.
District Judge Naomi Redhouse said she had not seen the footage and it was played for her in court today.
Mr Macaulay said Cawley told officers he had drunk a number of cans of Stella Artois lager on Friday morning, followed by three-quarters of a litre of vodka - all before he got to Sheffield by train.
Once in Sheffield, he had a further seven to 10 pints of cider, the court heard.
District Judge Redhouse heard that Cawley, of Blenheim Square, Cheltenham, only realised what he had done when other people told him and then he saw himself clearly on TV.
He emailed the police to say sorry and also emailed Sky Sports in the hope that his apology would be passed on to the two clubs and Kirkland.
His solicitor, Elizabeth Anderton, tried to tell the judge that reports that her client had bragged about the incident in social networking sites were wrong.
But District Judge Redhouse stopped her, saying she had not seen the reports and was not interested.
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