Jury fails to reach a verdict on claims against Sunderland Football Club groundsman

John Richmond

John Richmond

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A JURY in the trial of an SAFC groundsman accused of being at the centre of an angry mob who charged at police during a violent clash, has failed to reach a verdict.

John Richmond was accused of taking part in the violence that flared between Sunderland supporters and police at Newcastle Central Station in August 2009.

During a trial at the city’s crown court, the 47-year-old grandad told the jury he innocently got caught up in the trouble as he made his way back from the Sunderland friendly against Hearts in Edinburgh that day.

He said he had been simply trying to make his way back to Sunderland hospital to get to his daughter, who was about to give birth, when he got drawn into the trouble.

The widower told jurors he ended up being beaten and bitten by a police dog when the violence flared and that he found out while he was in hospital having surgery to his injuries that his mother had died.

After more than four hours deliberation jurors failed to reach a verdict on a single charge of affray, which Richmond, of Fordfield Road, Sunderland, had denied.

Judge Guy Whitburn discharged the panel from deliberating further when it was confirmed they were hopelessly deadlocked.

The case against him will be left to lie on file.