A football fan has been jailed for punching a police horse in the wake of the Tyne-Wear derby in April.
Barry Rogerson, 45, of Morpeth Northumberland attacked the animal outside of St James’ Park following the game between Newcastle and Sunderland in April. Pleading guilty to a charge of violent disorder, Mr Rogerson was sentenced to 12 months in jail and handed a six-year football banning order at Newcastle Crown Court on Thursday.
Upon sentencing Mr Rogerson, Judge Paul Sloan QC said: "You attended the football match and by the time the match ended you were worse for wear from drinking while taking your medication.
"You were clapping your hands at the police horse, remaining there despite repeated requests to move. When the crowd surged forward on two separate occasions you were clapping your hands in pleasure or excitement at the events. You started clapping into the horses face. The police horse then started moving towards you, you were told to move back by the officer.
“You had plenty opportunity to move away but punched the horse in the head. There was a risk of serious injury from what you did. That officer could have been thrown from the horse causing serious injury. On this particular occasion you drank far more than you should have. You are in a stable relationship and have a young son aged 11. Your position is aggravated by your consumption of alcohol."
Speaking on behalf of his client, Robert Adams told the court: "Mr Rogerson was a man of good character. He is 45-years-of-age and he, perhaps more than any other, has had the humiliation of almost constant press coverage about his involvement. He is extremely embarrassed and ashamed of what happened. It has been difficult for him but also for his family and friends.
"He has a very good work record of 22 years, it is only illness that stops him from working. He has never bothered the police before in any way and he has never appeared in any court. He lives on disability allowance and his wife is in employment. He is therefore a man of difficulties. He is not somebody who has ever supported or encouraged this type of behaviour. There is no question he had a particularly large amount to drink on this day.
He went onto say: "He did not punch any human, officer or Sunderland supporter in any way. No missiles or other weapon was thrown by the defendant. He has no previous convictions of any sort. It is not the case that he was involved in other acts of violence around the city centre. His wife has told him he is not going to another football match ever. Mr Rogerson has acted completely out if character while under the influence of drink."