'Stupid' cocaine-fuelled Pompey thug who headbutted Southampton fan served punishment in court

A ‘STUPID’ cocaine-fuelled Pompey thug who was drunk the weekend he headbutted a Southampton supporter, leaving his rival with ‘lasting injuries,’ was spared jail.

By Steve Deeks
Friday, 1st April 2022, 12:56 pm
Updated Friday, 1st April 2022, 1:03 pm

Mason Preston, 21, of Purbrook Way in Leigh Park, was handed a 14-month jail term suspended for 24 months after admitting common assault following the incident on the evening of February 5 outside Basingstoke train station.

Preston headbutted Saints fan Sasha Brown in an ‘unprovoked’ attack, knocking him briefly unconscious and leaving him with a black eye and bleeding head.

Mr Brown also suffered from vertigo in the six weeks that followed.

Basingstoke railway station from Google Maps and right, Mason Preston of Purbrook Way, outside Portsmouth Magistrates' Court on Febraury 28, 2022

Preston was also slapped with a six-month electronic curfew, told to pay £3,000 compensation and handed a five-year football banning order during his sentence at Portsmouth Crown Court.

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Preston, who works as a roofer, was at the station at 8pm along with 40 other Portsmouth Football Club supporters, following a 3-2 defeat to Oxford United.

The group started chanting ‘scummers’ at three Southampton fans before throwing beer, at which point it escalated.

The headbutt against the Southampton fan, right at Basingstoke train station

Among the Saints supporters was Mr Brown, who was wearing a red and white Southampton FC top.

Video clips of the assault were widely shared on social media and played in court where ‘scummer’ could be heard being chanted. Pompey issued a statement at the time condemning the assault.

The court heard the ‘unprovoked attack’ on Mr Brown saw him ‘headbutted and fall to the floor’.

He was left with a black eye and a cut to the back of his head and was ‘bleeding for some time’.

prosecutor Edward Holingsworth said: ‘The victim remembers a large group calling him a scummer.

‘The next thing he was aware of was being surrounded by the group and feeling very threatened.

‘The last thing he remembered was lots of people around him being very aggressive.’

In a statement read out to court, the victim said: ‘It has affected my partner more than me and she now feels anxious to be around groups of young men.

‘I’m grateful it wasn’t a more serious injury and grateful to the police for making me feel comfortable throughout the process.’

Howard Barrington-Clark, defending, said Preston had shown ‘genuine remorse’.

A probation officer at a previous hearing said: ‘Mr Preston tells me he and his friends were drinking a lot of alcohol.

‘He tells me he was also taking cocaine that weekend. It’s a mixture of emotion associated with football and the tribalism of football, alcohol and cocaine use and a large group of his friends which contributed to his behaviour.

‘Mr Preston tells me he was feeling pretty emotional as he had broken up with his girlfriend a few days earlier.’

She said Preston ‘feels awful’ and ‘would like to say sorry’ to Brown, before adding: ‘Mr Preston describes his behaviour as very stupid.’

Recorder Simon Levene said: ‘This was a disgraceful and completely unprovoked act of mob violence.’

The curfew runs between 8pm and 5.30am but does not apply on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

The court heard how he has three previous convictions.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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