Pompey and Cardiff fans convicted over brawl in Portsmouth street

Police Car / Incident Stock Pic (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150519-172740001

UPDATE: Arrests made after suspected kidnapping attempt in Southsea

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FOUR men have been convicted of taking part in a mass brawl between Pompey and Cardiff City fans.

They have been warned they may go to prison after violence erupted when a group of Cardiff fans got lost after the game at Fratton Park on August 28, last year.

FIGHT Image from CCTV video that was shown to the court

FIGHT Image from CCTV video that was shown to the court

It brings the total number of people convicted in relation to the mass punch-up to six, as two had already admitted their part.

The Cardiff fans had approached another group, dressed in blue, near the Good Companion pub, who they thought were fellow fans of the Welsh club but turned out to be Pompey supporters.

A row broke out and the Cardiff fans ran off down Eastern Road with the Pompey supporters chasing after them.

As punches were being thrown a coach-load of Cardiff fans drove past and some on board made the driver pull over so that they could join in the brawl.

Stunned members of the public watched on as a group of 30 men fought in the street at around tea time.

Football intelligence officer PC Paul Foley condemned the violence.

‘The large-scale disorder would have been seen by lots of members of the public, including families,’ he said.

‘This sort of thing is not commonplace on our streets and people who saw it would undoubtedly have been scared and intimidated.

‘The outcome of this case is a reminder that football related violence and disorder is taken very seriously by Hampshire police.’

Pompey fans Colin Gibbs, a 48-year-old taxi driver, his son Lewis Gibbs, 19, and Matthew Balmer, 36, were all found guilty of taking part in the trouble, along with Cardiff supporter Peter Morgan, 45, after a two-week trial at Portsmouth Crown Court.

Judge Ian Pearson adjourned the case for sentencing next month and warned them they could go to jail.

‘I am granting you bail but you must not assume just because you’re getting bail that a non-custodial sentence will be granted,’ he said.

‘All options are to be considered and that includes custody.’

Cardiff’s 2-0 victory at Fratton Park saw them go to the top of the Championship while Pompey were bottom, with just one point from four games.

The game was the first time the sides had met since Portsmouth beat Cardiff in the 2008 FA Cup final.

Despite the trouble, Hampshire police say they will not be bringing in extra officers for Cardiff’s visit to Portsmouth next Saturday.

Men cleared of more serious charges

THE four men were convicted after a two-week trial at Portsmouth Crown Court.

A fifth, Thomas Parker, was cleared of all the charges.

The group smiled and patted each other on the back after being found not guilty of violent disorder, the most serious charge they were facing.

Pompey fan Colin Gibbs, 48, of Jervis Road, Stamshaw, Portsmouth, was convicted of using threatening or abusive words or behaviour but he was cleared of the more serious offences of violent disorder and affray.

His son Lewis Gibbs, 19, of the same address, was convicted of affray and using threatening or abusive words or behaviour. He was cleared of violent disorder.

Matthew Balmer, 36, of Strode Road, Stamshaw, was found guilty of affray. 

He was cleared of violent disorder.

Cardiff fan Peter Morgan, 45, of Primrose Street, Mid Glamorgan, was convicted of using threatening or abusive words or behaviour.

He was also cleared of violent disorder and affray.

Parker, 21, of Church Road, Emsworth, was cleared of violent disorder, affray and a public order offence.

Judge Ian Pearson told him: ‘My advice Mr Parker in future is walk away. Walk away at some speed. Do not follow a friend because it will lead to trouble.’

Two other men had already admitted their roles in the trouble after police launched an investigation code-named Operation Artefact.

Pompey fans Danny Ashburner, 20, of Lime Avenue, Chichester, and Jarred Partridge, 18, of Japonica Way, Havant, previously pleaded guilty to a public order offence.

The eight men will be sentenced together, when the prosecution will also apply for football banning orders.