Aix-en-Provence (France) (AFP) – Two Russian men were on Monday sentenced to jail terms of three years and 10 years for a savage attack on an English football supporter at the 2016 European championships.
Mikhail Ivkin received a three-year term and Pavel Kossov the longer sentence for their role in the beating that left Briton Andrew Bache with a brain injury.
Detained since the two men were arrested in Germany in February 2018, Ivkin will be released “between now and the end of the week”, his lawyer Julien Pinelli told AFP, while Kossov returns to jail.
Kossov, 34, was accused of throwing the first punch at 55-year-old Bache in the violence that broke out before England played Russia in Marseille on June 11, 2016.
Bache, from Portsmouth in southern England, has no memory of the events and was too frail to attend the trial. His son Harry was in court for the opening two days of the trial.
The prosecution, who had called for a maximum jail term of between 14 and 15 years for Kossov, said the Russians were part of a group of about 150 men, many with martial arts training.
One prosecutor, Christophe Raffin, described the charge as “a paramilitary commando raid”.
“No, it wasn’t legitimate self-defence, it was an illegitimate use of force against Andrew Bache,” said Raffin.
The court had been shown video images, including broadcasts from Russia Today and footage filmed by Ivkin.
Ivkin, the second Spartak Moscow supporter in the dock, did not hit Bache. The images show him throwing a chair, which barely grazes the victim.
Kossov is then seen punching Bache from behind in the back of the head, a blow which sent Bache falling, like a rag doll, face first into the ground without attempting to protect himself.
Medical expert Michel Blanc, who examined Bache in 2018, said during the trial the damage he observed was “in line with a fall from eight metres high”.
However, Blanc also said that the punch delivered by Kossov “cannot cause a fracture of the skull” like the one shown “with a major cerebral haemorrhage”.
“It may have caused a brain disconnect in the victim, like a knockout in boxing, a short circuit,” he said.
Questions remain over the involvement of a third attacker, a young man in khaki Bermuda shorts and a light T-shirt, who is seen delivering a savage punch while the victim is lying motionless on the ground.
That attacker’s face was hidden by a surgical mask and he has never been identified.
Kossov and Ivkin were arrested as they travelled through Germany following a Spartak Moscow fixture in Bilbao in February 2018, 20 months after Bache suffered his life-changing injuries.
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