Sunderland fan jailed for vicious attack on Leeds rival

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A PUB landlord has been jailed after attacking rival football fans on a train.

Black Cats fan Craig Hamilton has started a year-long stretch after his vicious attack was labelled “disgraceful,” by the judge.

The 34-year-old, who ran the Pemberton Arms, in Haswell, County Durham, was making his way back from a Sunderland match at Wigan Athletic when he confronted three Leeds United fans on the train.

Two were returning from Leeds’ match against Swansea City to their Stockton home, when the attack took place on September 11.

Teesside Crown Court heard that as the train approached Darlington station, booze-fuelled Hamilton started abusing the Leeds supporters, saying: “I’m Sunderland – I hate Leeds. I’ll fight any one of you now, one on one.”

He then pushed one of them to the floor, punched another in the face and dragged another off his seat, before he was caught on CCTV kicking and stamping on him.

Police were waiting at Darlington station and arrested Hamilton, of Salters Lane, Haswell.

One of his victims suffered a broken nose and another had a bruised and grazed left eye. The third was unhurt.

Hamilton admitted affray and was jailed for 12 months.

The court heard how, when he was on bail for the train clash, Hamilton was involved in a bar brawl after a match in January.

He was fined £300 for the part he played in the trouble at Chubby’s Bar, in Blackpool.

Pc John Stubbs, British Transport Police’s North East area Football Intelligence Officer, said: “This was a completely unprovoked attack by Hamilton, who took offence to his victims simply because they didn’t support the same football team as him.

“Abusive, antisocial or violent behaviour of this type on trains is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated by police.

“We work in partnership with Home Office police forces and football clubs around the country, in order to build up an intelligence picture of risk supporters that can have an impact on our policing of home and away games.

“The granting of a custodial sentence by the court sends a strong message that behaviour such as this is not welcome, on the railways or at football matches.”