Fan’s anger as thugs who beat him avoid prison

VICTIM Pompey supporter Tim Hanks at the scene of the attack by Birmingham thugs.      Picture: Steve Reid (111479-750)
VICTIM Pompey supporter Tim Hanks at the scene of the attack by Birmingham thugs. Picture: Steve Reid (111479-750)
Police in Middle Street, Portsmouth, over the weekend.

Man arrested for attempted murder after Portsmouth incident released

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A POMPEY fan says he was left shocked and angry after two thugs who beat him unconscious were spared jail.

Tim Hanks was subjected to a vicious, unprovoked attack by a group of Birmingham fans following their FA Cup match in Portsmouth last year.

The 54-year-old suffered severe cuts to his head, and bruises all over his body, as he was punched and kicked to the ground outside the Etap Hotel, in Fratton Way, Fratton.

Philip Bancroft, 32, from Tamworth, and 21-year-old Adam Daly, from Birmingham, both pleaded guilty to wounding with intent.

But the two men only received 12-month suspended sentences for an attack which left Mr Hanks’ short-term memory permanently damaged.

The Crown Prosecution Service has said it is considering appealing the judge’s decision.

Mr Hanks said the sentences seemed ridiculously light after such a serious assault.

‘When I heard I was horrified, I could barely speak,’ he said. ‘What kind of a message does it send out, when people can do something like this and not go to prison? I really feel for the police officers who put so much effort into this case, only for them to walk free.’

The attack happened on Saturday, March 6, 2010, as Mr Hanks was walking from Fratton Park to catch a train home to Northamptonshire.Noticing a group of people shouting at a young man, he asked them to stop and two of them attacked him.

The last thing he remembers is seeing a man running towards him with a bottle in his hand.

He said: ‘The look of horror on my wife’s face when she saw my injuries, that was the worst thing.

‘For weeks afterwards I couldn’t cope with being in large crowds of people, and I couldn’t bring myself to return to Portsmouth until today. That meant I missed the semi-final and final of the FA Cup which was a real shame.’

The thugs had been with a group of men who had travelled from Birmingham. After the attack they jumped into a van waiting on Fratton Way and drove off. Police later stopped the van on Eastern Road as it headed out of the city, and made 16 arrests.

But only Bancroft and Daly, who have both also received six-year football banning orders, could be identified from footage captured by a member of the public on a mobile phone video camera.

Judge William Andreae-Jones knew Bancroft and Daly had previous convictions for violence. Bancroft was jailed for GBH in 1997.

Mr Hanks said: ‘This was not a trivial crime, and I can’t even begin to understand how they are still free to go about their lives.’

Det Con Rachael Hannam received a Commander’s Certificate of Congratulations her for ‘relentless dedication’ to the case, and was honoured for the care and support she gave to Mr Hanks during the case.