Sunderland football fan broke fellow supporter's jaw in 'sickening' attack in Yorkshire rugby club car park on way to match

A football supporter broke the jaw of a fellow Sunderland fan during a 'sickening' car park attack on the way to see a match in Yorkshire.

Thursday, 24th October 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Thursday, 24th October 2019, 6:02 pm

Dean Sinclair was locked up for 18 months over the assault on the 53-year-old victim outside Knottingley Rugby Union Club.

Leeds Crown Court heard Sinclair was part of a group of Sunderland fans travelling to watch their team play a League One game against Barnsley on March 12 this year.

The attack happened when fans' buses stopped at the rugby club for a drink on the way to the match.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Leeds Crown Court

Andrew Horton, prosecuting, told the court how trouble flared between Sinclair and other men in the bar area.

Punches were thrown and Sinclair was dragged outside during the disturbance.

Mr Horton said the victim had helped organise the trip and approached Sinclair in a bid to calm him down and persuade him to get back on the bus.

The prosecutor said the defendant delivered a punch to the side of the man's jaw which was described by witnesses as "sickening".

The victim suffered a broken jaw and lost teeth as a result of the punch.

He also suffered a broken ankle as he was knocked to the ground.

Mr Horton said the attack took place in front of the victim's 20-year-old daughter and his nephew.

A child was also in the car park at the time and witnessed the assault.

The victim had to undergo surgery to have metal plates fitted to his face.

He also needed an operation on his ankle.

The victim provided a statement to the court in which he described how he had been unable to do his job as a taxi driver and felt as though he had "lost his dignity."

Sinclair was interviewed by police about the incident and admitted throwing the punch.

He said he had argued with other fans about the tattoos on his face and punches had been thrown.

Sinclair said he hit the man as he feared he was about to be attacked again but was sorry for the injuries he had caused.

Sinclair, of Council Avenue, Shiney Row, Houghton-le-Spring, pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm.

He has previous convictions for affray, robbery and possessing an article capable of causing injury in a sports ground.

Probation officer Mike Cooper told the court Sinclair had been "extremely apologetic" when interviewed about the offence.

Mr Cooper said: "He clearly regrets what he did and he said to me he did not know the victim.

"He assumed it was someone else who was assaulting him."

"He does not appear to be a football hooligan, he just has an issue when confronted about the way he looks when he has been drinking."

Jailing Sinclair, Judge Andrew Stubbs, QC, said: "Your position is made worse by your record, by your behaviour beforehand, by the presence of a child, by drinking alcohol and by failing to respond to those who were trying to calm you down."

Sinclair was also made the subject of a football banning order.

He is not allowed to attend a football match in the UK for six years.

Sinclair is also banned from going near grounds in which Sunderland AFC or the England national team are playing for 24 hours before kick-off.