Dundee Utd fans ‘defending women & children’ claim

Tannadice park, home of Dundee Utd.  Picture: Ian Rutherford

Tannadice park, home of Dundee Utd. Picture: Ian Rutherford

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A GROUP of Dundee United fans claim they were defending “women, children and the elderly” from Russian thugs during a Europa League qualifying match.

They say they were not “trying to form a wall” between rampaging Dynamo Moscow fans and local supporters, a court heard yesterday.

Seven fans are standing trial accused of “inciting public disorder” by hurling objects at Dynamo fans and brawling with them in the stands at Tannadice during the qualifier last year.

Darren Elder, David Lawson, Sean Duffy, Greg Campbell, Kevin Drummond, Rory Mulligan and Dale Kelly deny causing disturbances last August.

All the accused except Lawson have lodged special defences claiming they were acting in defence of the elderly, women and children attending the match.

Violence broke out in the Fair Play Stand – where Dundee United fans were seated in the upper tier, with visiting supporters below.

A jury at Dundee Sheriff Court was shown a series of still photographs showing Russian fans clambering up into the top part of the stand and brawling with home supporters.

Toyim Martindale, a member of the “conflict management” team of stewards, said he did not believe the home fans were trying to assist him as he pointed out incidents depicted in the photos.

Asked by depute fiscal Vicky Bell whether he agreed with a suggestion the home fans had tried to form a wall to stop the Russian supporters from climbing up into the top tier, he replied: “No, I wouldn’t.”

Mr Martindale said he had tried to separate the rival fans and said he saw United fans trying to “stomp” on a Moscow fan who was on the ground.

He said: “He was being attacked by United fans. They were trying to stomp on his legs and his upper torso.

“There were a few trying to get at him but I only saw one leg stomp on him – someone wearing charcoal grey trousers.”

Steward supervisor Michael Miller said he saw a man in a white shirt and red tie, “throwing punches” as he made his way along the front of the stand towards the trouble.

He said the same man was one of the people in handcuffs when he arrived at the scene and identified Kelly in the dock as that person.

The court also heard from PC Karen Brown, who said she was one of the first police officers on the scene.

She told the court she saw “at least 30 people” fighting and only one steward there to deal with it.

She identified Kelly and Lawson in the dock as having been “shouting and aggressive and wanting to get involved” in the fight.

Elder, 21; Lawson, 25; Duffy, 24; Campbell, 29; Mulligan, 30; Kelly, 24 – all of Dundee – and Drummond, 32, of no fixed abode, pleaded not guilty to the charge under the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act.

The trial continues.

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