Trial over fracas that left Owls fan in coma

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TWO men were involved in football violence which left one Sheffield Wednesday fan fighting for life and in a coma for weeks, a court heard.

Dean Carroll, aged 28, and John Welsh, 22, are accused of being among Hartlepool United fans who clashed with rival Owls supporters in August last year.

Owls fan Kevin Taylor, from Swinton, Rotherham, was knocked unconscious and spent weeks in a coma and fellow supporter Stanley Ryman suffered a broken nose.

Carroll, of Banff Grove, Hartlepool, and Welsh, a serving soldier from Stanmore Grove, Hartlepool, are accused of taking part in a joint attack on Mr Ryman, which left him needing hospital treatment.

They are said to have joined Paul Bennett, 24, of St Oswald’s Street, Hartlepool in attacking Mr Ryman.

Bennett, who has pleaded guilty, was also responsible for punching Mr Taylor to the ground during the incident and will be sentenced at a later date with three other men who admitted affray.

Teeside Crown Court heard violence fared when Wednesday beat Hartlepool United 5-0 at the start of the season.

The attack happened outside the town’s train station when two sets of fans were involved in a stand-off.

Owls fans Kevin Taylor and Stanley Ryman are said to have been left in “no-man’s land” between the two groups of men, who were goading each other.

Jolyon Perks, prosecuting, said: “The Crown say this is a joint assault upon Mr Ryman and nothing less.

“The incident is over in seconds, with Kevin Taylor and Stanley Ryman being left bleeding on the road.”

CCTV of the incident was played to the jury and showed Bennett, Carroll, Welsh and other men quickly leave the scene and going into a bar where some of them had previously been drinking.

More CCTV footage allegedly showed Carroll bragging about his involvement in the violence.

It is alleged the trouble started when a group of Sheffield Wednesday fans were told by Hartlepool supporters to leave a bar where they had been celebrating their team’s victory.

The court was told the incident angered other Wednesday supporters waiting at the train station.

Carroll was arrested the following morning and accepted hitting Mr Ryman but claimed it was accidental when he tried to intervene between him and Bennett.

Welsh was arrested more than a week later at his barracks.

He accepted being present during the disorder but denied being involved in a fight.

The trial continues.