Sunderland AFC fan and former Coldstream Guard gets new Football Banning Order after giving false name when caught fighting with Coventry City supporters

A football fan has been banned from being in the vicinity of the Stadium of Light on match days after being caught fighting with rival supporters.

Monday, 4th November 2019, 3:52 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 10:03 am

Liam Stokoe was already barred from being inside the ground under a Football Banning Order when police saw him being attacked by a group of Coventry supporters outside, after a game against Sunderland in April.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 35-year-old, who was allowed to be outside the ground, gave a false identity to officers who detained him, but had picked the name of a man who was banned from being in the area of the stadium during matches.

As a result Stokoe, a former Coldstream Guard, was charged with being in breach of a football banning order under the fake name.

Liam Stokoe

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It was only when officers checked his fingerprints that his true identity was revealed and the case against the other man was dropped.

Prosecutor Neil Pallister told the court: "Police inquiries also uncovered the fact he had committed an act of violence before being found on the ground being assaulted by the Coventry fans.

"A review of the body-worn footage revealed the defendant had been at the junction of Kier Hardie Way when he approached a male and punched him to the side of the head.

"He had walked past the fans, approached the man from the side and punched him.

Then he was set upon by the Coventry fans and they got the better of him."

The court heard the man whose name Stokoe gave to the police lost his job after it was reported in the press that he had been accused of breaching his banning order, but got the employment back when the truth came out.

Stokoe, of Azalea Terrace North, Sunderland, admitted perverting the course of justice and a public order act offence.

Mr Recorder Paul Greaney QC sentenced him to nine months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with rehabilitation requirements and 200 hours unpaid work.

Stokoe was given a new football banning order, which lasts for five years and bans him from being in the vicinity of the ground during matches.

The judge told him; "You are being given a big chance today, very often people who commit offences of this type go straight to prison."