Fans behind bars for train ambush

PUBLISHED: 11:37 19 March 2008 | UPDATED: 14:30 25 August 2010

A GANG of football hooligans who launched a planned, coordinated and premeditated ambush of rival supporters have been jailed for a total of 18 years and banned from matches in England and Wales.

A GANG of football hooligans who launched a "planned, coordinated and premeditated ambush" of rival supporters have been jailed for a total of 18 years and banned from matches in England and Wales.

More than 40 thugs, thought to be Crystal Palace supporters, boarded a train at Sydenham station intent on ambushing Charlton fans, their south London rivals.

Women, children and pensioners were caught up in the violence as the yobs went on the rampage shortly before their teams clashed at Selhurst Park on September 1 last year.

Passengers were kicked, punched and abused while a 24-year-old Charlton fan suffered a broken nose.

Witness Polly Dooley said: "This group of men didn't care who they hurt. They acted like animals and their behaviour was unacceptable."

Leigh Bevis, 22, from Croydon; John De Bono, 20, of Riverside Court, High Street, St Mary's Cray; Stephen Edwards, 40, from Clapham; Tommy Patience, 19, of Salcot Crescent, New Addington; Danny Lehane, 21, from South Norwood; Nicholas McGinty, 24, from Lewisham; Harvey Neenan, 44, of Abbotts Park, Tulse Hill; Dominic Goodridge, 32, of North Downs Road, New Addington; and a 16-year-old from Purley all admitted violent disorder.

Judge Stephen Robbins told the thugs: "This was sickening behaviour, thuggery and organised violence on a train with members of the public, including children, who were visibly distressed."

Neenan and Goodridge, both with previous convictions related to football violence, were jailed for 40 months and given 10-year football banning orders.

Lehane, Bevis and civil engineering student De Bono were each sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison and given 10-year football banning orders.

Patience and Edwards were jailed for two years and banned from football for six years. The 16-year-old was given a two-year community rehabilitation order and told to complete 150 hours unpaid work.

The football banning orders mean the yobs are prevented from attending any football match in England and Wales and banned from travelling on trains on any day when England or Crystal Palace are playing.

They are also banned from going near any stadium where Crystal Palace are playing, whether at home or away. The defendants are banned from Croydon pubs when Crystal Palace are playing at home.

After sentencing, Charlton Athletic Football Club operations director Mick Everett said: "This mindless, violent and unprovoked attack on our supporters and also members of the travelling public was a despicable and cowardly act.

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