THEY tried denying their involvement in terrifying scenes that left families and children running for cover in Guildhall Square.
But now Pompey football hooligans are facing up to the ‘looming prospect of custody’ following their involvement in the ugly scenes prior to Portsmouth’s League Two match with Plymouth in April last year.
Jack Stobart, 23, Tommy Houlden, 19, and Shane Bartram, 26, all denied their part in the menacing scenes in the city centre that saw running battles with police and rival fans — including where a Plymouth fan was repeatedly booted like a football while lying motionless on the ground.
But despite their attempts to evade justice they were found guilty by a jury after trial — landing them in the dock at Portsmouth Crown Court this week.
They were part of a baying mob ‘intent on violence’ that will find out their fate for violent disorder today. In total, 16 defendants face justice.
Houlden, who had a football banning order imposed just two days before the violence against Plymouth erupted, claimed he did ‘nothing wrong’ but was found guilty by a jury after he was ‘beckoning others to join the violence’, prosecutor Simon Jones said.
Houlden, of Hayling Avenue, Copnor, was also part of the group that tried to storm the Isambard Brunel pub where Plymouth fans had been ushered by police.
Stobart, of April Square, Landport, ruined his previously unblemished good character after he was at the ‘forefront of the charge’ against Plymouth fans in Guildhall Square.
Bartram, of Goodwood Road, Southsea, also tarnished his good name with him ‘involved throughout’ in the clashes with cops and Plymouth fans.
Asa Palmer, 22, of Sea View Road, Drayton, and Connor Bowen, 20, of Lower Farlington Road, Farlington, were the final two defendants in court this week.
Palmer was at the ‘front of the charge’ and Bowen lobbed a coin at away fans amid their threatening behaviour.