English soccer thug banned for 20 years
A MAN whose photograph giving a Nazi-style salute at the 1995 Lansdowne Road riot has become the international hallmark of English soccer supporters has been given a two-year suspended jail term and banned from Ireland for 20 years.
Judge Cyril Kelly told Jerome Lindley: ``You have shamed your flag, disgraced your nation and scandalised all true sports supporters.''
While it was clear from the evidence that Lindley was not one of the thugs who initiated the riot, he said, there was ample documentary proof to show he used or threatened to use violence that put people's lives in danger.
Lindley (42), of Newport-Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, pleaded guilty to violent disorder at Lansdowne Road on February 15, 1995.
Judge Kelly directed that £5,000 bail money lodged by Lindley be divided among various charities and hospitals.
While jailing him might seem to be the penalty Lindley deserved, the court didn't think the Irish taxpayer should have to foot the £100-a-day bill to keep him in prison.
The Irish Rugby Football Union had also been adequately compensated for the damage done.
Judge Kelly ordered £1,500 to be paid out to the Fresh Air Association, a charity which brings deprived children on holiday; £1,500 to the Central Remedial Clinic; and £1,000 each to Temple Street Children's Hospital and the National Children's Hospital.
``At 40 years of age at the time, he was much too old to be acting like a thug and contributing to the destruction of what should have been a festive sporting occasion,'' Judge Kelly added.
Patrick Marrinan BL, defending, told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that due to his height and shaven head, Lindley stood out in the video recording and in photographs. He had consequently been hounded by the media.
``To say he and his family have been devastated by all this is to put it mildly,'' said Mr Marrinan. ``He has no history of violence and was not associated in any way with the people who started the trouble.''
Mr Marrinan said one photograph had been repeatedly printed and was published recently again in magazines.
Lindley was married with a 14-year-old son and had lost his job as a result of the media exposure. He had been ostracised by neighbours except for those who knew the truth.
Det Sgt Patrick Keane said that Lindley was on the Lower West Stand when missiles were thrown there from the Upper part. He became involved in scuffles and struggled with gardai when being ejected.
Lindley was the last of the arrested rioters to come before the court. He had no previous convictions and came voluntarily to court.
Det Sgt Keane agreed with Mr Marrinan that Lindley was remorseful. He had spent one ``nervous weekend'' in custody before getting bail.
Lindley had become involved in a general panic reaction when people in his area of the stand didn't know who was hurling missiles at them.
It was Lindley's first-ever international match for which he paid £25 for his ticket.
He had since been banned for life from attending an England soccer international.