A PASSER-BY who got involved in a mass street brawl between rival football fans has been spared jail.
Kevin Bilton mistakenly grabbed hold of a fellow Sunderland supporter when he got involved in the violence which erupted outside Revolution bar in the city on January 12.
Newcastle Crown Court heard when the 51-year-old realised his error, he turned his attention on a West Ham supporter, who he wrestled with.
His behaviour was captured on CCTV which showed a mass street fight break out in the city centre in front of horrified onlookers.
The footage was played at the sentencing hearing yesterday.
Window-fitter Bilton of Lambton Drive, Hetton, admitted violent disorder and was yesterday sentenced to four months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, with 100 hours’ unpaid work.
Judge Jeremy Freedman told him: “I accept you were passing by and, for reasons I cannot fathom, you decided to become involved.
“As a mature person. you should have done your best to break it up rather than get stuck in yourself.”
Trainee surveyor Sean Herron, 19, of Hogarth Drive, Columbia, Washington, who handed in a stash of testimonials to his usually positive character, was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, with 250 hours’ unpaid work.
Simon Badham, 21, of Frobisher Street, Hebburn, was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, with 250 hours’ unpaid work.
The judge said Badham is usually a “genuinely decent member of society”.
Nissan worker Shaun Baker, 29, of Gainsborough Square, Sunderland, was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, with £500 costs.
Judge Freedman said he accepted the men were ashamed of what they had done and accepted none of them had been involved in the organising of the brawl by the Sunderland Youth Firm and rival supporters.
The judge said: “It is an aggravating feature this fight was part and parcel of football hooliganism.”
They had all admitted violent disorder. All four were given three-year football banning orders.