Charlton fan guilty of intimidating behaviour at Carrow Road

A football hooligan arrested after unrest during a match at Carrow Road has been convicted of intimidating behaviour.

A football hooligan arrested after unrest during a match at Carrow Road has been convicted of intimidating behaviour.

Charlton Athletic supporter Michael Whitfield, 43, from Gravesend, Kent, was among 17 men arrested following the match in September last year.

Norwich magistrates were yesterday shown footage of a group of fans in the away end, surging towards home fans after Norwich City equalised during extra time to tie the game 2-2.

He denied using threatening, abusive words and behaviour but was convicted following a trial at Norwich Magistrates' Court.

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Oliver Haswell, prosecuting, said that Whitfield was "hell bent on getting to the front and being as much of a menace as he could".

Giving evidence, PC Jason Evans, a specialist football officer from London, identified Whitfield on CCTV footage taken inside the ground. He said it showed a steward pushing back Whitfield on two occasions and a police officer speaking to him - despite this he continued to push towards the segregation area separating Charlton fans from Norwich supporters.

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Whitfield, the co-director of an organisation which helps children at risk of becoming involved in crime, said he had become caught up in the surge and had not been abusive.

Finding Whitfield guilty, John Warne, chair of the bench, said they were "satisfied" from CCTV evidence that the defendant moved a female fan out of the way and "continued forward" and that the steward "responded to a perceived threat and he pushed you away".

Mr Warne also said the bench were satisfied that Whitfield's behaviour on the CCTV showed him "posturing and being verbal towards Norwich fans in a threatening manner'.

Mr Warne adjourned sentence until June 15, when a contested football banning order in respect of Whitfield will also be determined, so that reports could be made.

Whitfield was released on unconditional bail until the next hearing at Norwich Magistrates Court at 2pm on June 15.

Mika Pine, defending, said her client was not a football hooligan but had been in the "wrong place at the wrong time". She added that he was "a community-minded, a season-ticket holder for his football team, someone who doesn't drink alcohol, wasn't drunk on the day, just went to enjoy a game of football".

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