London (AFP) – A Millwall football supporter has been jailed for two years after punching a rival fan who later died.
Andrew Lewis pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm on 56-year-old Nottingham Forest fan Paul O’Donnell in a car park outside Nottingham’s City Ground.
Lewis, 50, had drunk seven pints of lager before the Friday night fixture on August 4 and said he used violence against O’Donnell because he was saying “West Ham” — the name of Millwall’s bitter London rivals — at him.
O’Donnell was found in a critical condition two weeks later at his house in Newark, Nottinghamshire, after falling down the stairs, and was pronounced dead in hospital on August 24.
Manslaughter charges against Lewis were dropped, with prosecutor Miranda Moore telling the court doctors could not say definitely that the injuries caused tby Lewis were directly responsible O’Donnell’s death.
Judge Gregory Dickinson told Lewis: “This was an entirely unnecessary as well as aggressive blow to a man who, at that moment, was incapable of defending himself because he was looking away…Everyone should be safe to attend matches like this without having to experience or witness violence.”
Lewis, of Bromley, South London, was jailed on Wednesday after admitting one count of causing grievous bodily harm at a previous hearing
The court was told Lewis had another previous conviction in for assaulting a taxi driver in Cardiff in 2004 — the same weekend Millwall played Manchester United in the FA Cup final at the Welsh capital’s Millennium Stadium.
Fans of Millwall, who now play in the second-tier Championship, became synonymous with English football hooliganism at its height in the 1970s and 1980s, with club officials doing their best to rid the south London side of a reputation for violence.
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