Seven people have been given suspended prison sentences after taking part in a mass brawl in Brighton after a “March for England” and counter-protest.
Six other people were cleared of criminal involvement in the fighting outside the Dorset pub and Infinity Foods on the corner of Gardner Street and North Road in the North Laine.
At the time, Sunday 27 April 2014, Sussex Police said: “The March for England in Brighton on Sunday (27 April) passed without any major incident.”
Yesterday (Saturday 23 April), almost two years after the running battles during which two police officers were attacked and 27 people arrested, Detective Superintendent Carwyn Hughes said: “This was terrifying for those people in the area and we ensured the resources necessary to find those responsible and bring them to justice.
“We will always prosecute where protests become an excuse for a fight. We are there to facilitate peaceful protest and will not tolerate this sort of behaviour.”
Sussex Police said: “The fight is believed to have been between two groups of people connected with the march and counter-protest which had taken place on the seafront earlier on in the day.”
Detective Superintendent Hughes said: “This fight took place in broad daylight on a Sunday afternoon in a busy shopping area of Brighton.
“Their behaviour and conduct, with chairs, tables and glasses thrown across the road, was completely unacceptable.
“Thankfully no one was hurt but we will not tolerate this sort of behaviour anywhere in Sussex.
“We had a bespoke team of six officers working over three months with the audio-visual unit to study CCTV and identify those involved.
“Investigating officers travelled up and down the country seeking leads and making arrests and two years on we could bring this case to trial.
“A group of 13 people appeared at Hove Crown Court in two trials charged with violent disorder.
“On Wednesday 17 February six of them were found guilty and on Tuesday 21 March one more person was found guilty.”
The force said that the cost of the investigation was “thousands of pounds”.
Sussex Police said that six people were given a two-year suspended prison sentence. They were
- Lorna Marcham, 31, of Norwich Drive, Bevendean, Brighton
- Craig Wells, 34, of Connell Drive, Woodingdean, Brighton
- Andrew Gill, 42, of Sixhills Street, Grimsby
- Graham Clark, 52, of Belgrave Road, Margate, Kent, formerly of Grimsby Road, Cleethorpes
- Scott Banks, 21, of Acacia Road, Doncaster
- Alan Titterton, 50, of Wordsworth Avenue, Sheffield
A seventh person was given a one-year suspended prison sentence
- Tracey Parsons, 50, of David Stoddart Gardens, Swindon, formerly of Holsworth Close, Harrow, Middlesex
The six people who were acquitted were
- Michael Woodhouse, 49, of Baden Road, Brighton
- Jack Woodhouse, 19, of Baden Road, Brighton
- Gavin Pidwell, 30, of The Street, Glynde, Lewes
- Richard Walker, 47, of Hillside Lane, Henfield
- Gareth Cooper, 34, of Burton Avenue, Doncaster
- Ian Crossland, 42, of Hollinsend Road, Sheffield
- Stephen Caudwell of Angleton Close, Sheffield
On Saturday (23 April) Sussex Police said: “St George’s Day in Brighton passed without any major incident.”
Chief Superintendent Nev Kemp, the police commander for Brighton and Hove, said: “Our priority has always been the wellbeing and safety of the public.
“We had a number of extra officers on duty in case of conflict between different groups as seen in the city in previous years.
“There was a rally held at The Level at around 1pm which attracted approximately 100 people. They marched around the city centre with limited disruption caused to traffic.
“I am pleased to say it was peaceful and there were no injuries reported.”
Two arrests were made on behalf of Kent Police. A 20-year-old man and a 51-year-old man, both of no fixed address, were arrested on suspicion of violent disorder after a previous incident in Kent earlier this year.