Sunday 20 October 2019

Birmingham fan who assaulted Jack Grealish sentenced to 14 weeks in prison

Jack Grealish is struck by a pitch invader early in the first-half. Photo: Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine
Jack Grealish is struck by a pitch invader early in the first-half. Photo: Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

Relatives of Birmingham City fan Paul Mitchell have had to leave their home due to online threats following his arrest on suspicion of assaulting Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish, a court has heard.

Mitchell's lawyer told Birmingham Magistrates' Court family members had been forced to move out of the Birmingham area after the "high-profile" incident.

Making an application for the court to withhold Mitchell's home address, solicitor Vaughn Whistance told the court: "There have been various comments posted on different social media platforms.

"My client's young family have had to leave their home address to move to outside of Birmingham through fear that they would suffer serious harm or even death."

Pub worker Mitchell, wearing a grey T-shirt, also admitted a charge of invading the pitch after magistrates rejected an application for his address to be withheld.

His solicitor told the court: "He cannot explain what came over him yesterday morning. His initial foolish intention was to just go onto the pitch and whip up the crowd."

Magistrates ordered a pre-sentence report on Mitchell and will pass sentence after 2pm on Monday.

Prosecutor Jonathan Purser told the court that Grealish felt lasting pain after the incident but had suffered no substantial injury from a punch to the right side of his jaw.

In a statement read into the court record by Mr Purser, the Aston Villa captain said: "I cannot help but feel how lucky I was in this incident.

"It could have so much worse had the supporter had some sort of weapon."

Chair of the bench Alison Fisher and another magistrate ordered Mitchell to pay £100 to Grealish as compensation for the pain, discomfort and shock caused by the assault.

Mitchell was also hit with a £115 victim surcharge and £135 in prosecution costs - and given a fortnight to pay the total sum of £350.

PA Media

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