PC who punched teenage football fan near Hillsborough 'went over the top'

A police officer who punched a teenage football fan three times, breaking his nose, went ‘over the top’, a prosecutor has told a jury.

Wednesday, 31st July 2019, 3:58 pm
Updated Wednesday, 31st July 2019, 7:03 pm

CCTV footage was shown to Leeds Crown Court on Wednesday of PC Liam Stewart, of South Yorkshire Police, pushing 18-year-old Louis McAndrew against the shutters of a shop in the Hillsborough area of Sheffield and hitting him.

The jury was told that Stewart, 33, has insisted he was acting in self-defence.

Mr McAndrew was with a group of Chesterfield fans on their way to see their team play at Sheffield Wednesday when the incident started near Hillsborough Corner on August 8, 2017.

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Hillsborough Corner (pic: Google)

Ian Brook, prosecuting, told the court: "We say the defendant went over the top in his dealings with this youth.

"What he did in delivering those three punches - in particular the last one - was quite unreasonable and totally disproportionate to any contact the complainant made to him or any future threat he may have perceived as imminent."

Mr Brook said the jury will hear that people Mr McAndrew was with were associated with a group ‘commonly referred to as football hooligans’ known as the Chesterfield Bastard Squad.

The prosecutor said the officer's lawyers will tell the court the complainant was attached to the Chesterfield Bastard Squad, although he will deny it.

He said the group arrived at Sheffield station and visited pubs in the city centre before getting a taxi to Hillsborough Corner.

Mr McAndrew was served in the Hillsborough Tap pub before he was asked to leave because he was an away fan.

Mr Brook said police were called after Mr McAndrew went back in the bar to warn friends.

He told the jury of three men and seven women that officers arrived and served section 35 notices on the men which barred them from the game.

He said: "It seemed to the complainant that these two officers were looking for some form of confrontation.”

The prosecutor said: "He (Mr McAndrew) was a bit upset at that point as he had taken half a day holiday from work, spent money on a ticket and the price of his train fare."

In police-shot footage shown to the court, Mr McAndrew says: "I've got a ticket; I've got a season ticket; I'm a true fan; I've done nothing wrong."

He said Mr McAndrew will tell the jury that Stewart held him by the throat so he could not breathe and he tried to push the officer away.

The prosecutor added that the complainant said he had four pints to drink over a four to five-hour period.

According to Mr Brook, the defendant has said Mr McAndrew was ‘heavily in drink’ and he believed the teenager was about to punch him as he had taken off his jacket and dropped his shoulder.

The prosecutor added that Stewart has said in his statements that Mr McAndrew was swearing and flailing his arms, but the complainant denies this.

Mr Brook said the officer also denies holding Mr McAndrew by the throat, instead claiming he held him by the shirt.

Mr Brook added that Stewart says he was ‘acting in self-defence and that the force that he used was necessary, reasonable and proportionate’.

He said Stewart was prosecuted after Mr McAndrew's parents investigated what happened to their son and found CCTV of the incident from a optician's shop. The matter was then referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Stewart, of Hoyland, Barnsley, denies assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The trial was adjourned until Thursday.