Thug who punched Tyne-Wear derby police horse is jailed

Barry Rogerson and six other yobs have been jailed for their part in the derby day riots after Newcastle lost to Sunderland

Tom White/PA Wire Barry Rogerson arrives at court
Barry Rogerson arrives at court

A football fan who punched a police horse in the head during a derby day riot has been jailed for a year.

Barry Rogerson, 45, was among scores of yobs charged after trouble flared when Newcastle lost 3-0 at home to Sunderland in April.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that during sustained disorder across the city, Rogerson remained close to a mounted police line.

He was drunk and began to clap in a horse’s face, and refused to move back for police.

Rogerson then squared up to Bud the police horse and punched him in the head, before shadow boxing towards him.

Sentencing Rogerson to 12 months in prison for violent disorder, Judge Paul Sloan QC said: “A horse started to move towards you and you were told to move back, you had plenty of opportunities to move away.

“You stood your ground and attacked the horse by punching it in the head. There was a risk of serious injury, the officer could easily have been thrown from the horse and could have sustained serious injury.”

Rogerson, of Hartlands, Bedlington, Northumberland, was also banned from attending any football matches in the UK for six years.

He was photographed with a scarf over his face to try to conceal his identity as he punched Bud.

The court heard Rogerson,of Hartlands, Bedlington, who had never been in trouble before, had consumed a lot of alcohol and was on medication at the time.

His barrister said the extensive media coverage of what Rogerson did had caused him humiliation.

Robert Adams, defending, said: “He had a small but unique role but he more than any other defendant has had the humiliation of almost constant Press coverage about his involvement.

“He is extremely embarrassed and ashamed of what happened, he acted out of character under the influence of drink.

“He did not punch a human or a police officer or a Sunderland fan and I anticipate he probably hurt himself more than the horse.

“His wife has told him he is not going to any more football matches ever.”

Among the others locked up yesterday was Alan Graham, who had been selling match day programmes and is a qualified steward. He threw bottles towards the police and helped to overturn a bin of empty bottles and Judge Sloan said he should have known better given his employment.

Graham, 21, of West Road, Benwell, admitted violent disorder and was jailed for 18 months.

Sam Miller, 19, of Blue Bell Way, South Shields, was locked up for 18 months.

Robert Taylor, 18, of Hull Street, Elswick, who was at the centre of the violence, was sent to a young offender institute for 20 months.

Michael Barker, 24, of Carnaby Close, Prudhoe, was locked up for 18 months. John Guthrie, 22, of Bristol Street, Blyth, was jailed for 16 months. Thomas Simpson, 22, of Edgewell, Prudhoe, was locked up for 16 months.

As well as the prison sentence they all received six year football banning orders. All of the men admitted violent disorder and their barristers said they were ashamed.

Chief Supt Gary Calvert said: “I welcome the sentences passed today to offenders for their part in the disorder. With the next derby just days away, this demonstrates tough action will be taken against anyone involved in such behaviour.”

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