A father of four who was embroiled in a huge fight involving Walsall football fans, that left a policeman with a broken leg, has been jailed.
Arron Arrowsmith claimed he was simply ‘in the wrong place at the wrong time’ and that he was at the game to celebrate his child’s birthday.
The ugly skirmish in Shrewsbury town centre left onlookers horrified. Arrowsmith was ‘not a football supporter’, the court was told, but the judge ruled that he had still got ‘stuck in’ and promptly jailed him to nine months in prison.
The 34-year-old, of Harden Road, admitted his part in the large-scale brawl which happened before Shrewsbury and Walsall met on October 14 last year.
Fellow Walsall man James Ross, 27, of Windrush Close, was jailed for eight months – with the court hearing that he only went to the match to accompany a younger relative. Both he and Arrowsmith were banned from attending football matches for six years.
And Michael Edwards, 56, of Roebuck Road in Walsall, was given a 12-month jail term suspended for two years for his role in the fight. Arrowsmith, of Harden Road, Walsall, ‘was not a football supporter’, Mr Andrew Wilkins defending, told Shrewsbury Crown Court yesterday.
“He was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“He had gone along to celebrate the birth of his fourth child,” he said.
But Judge Graham Cliff, sentencing, said: “Another way of looking at it is he got stuck in. He could have walked away.”
Arrowsmith, who also received a six-year ban on attending football matches.
Judge Cliff told Ross: “You embraced the occasion with gusto.”
In total 20 men were sentenced at court - with two Walsall men were jailed along with five from Shrewsbury.
Neil Robinson, 51, of Stephenson Avenue, Walsall, said he had muscled in to protect a friend who was terminally ill with cancer.
Judge Cliff said: “You have escaped immediate custody by the skin of your teeth”, and suspended his 12-month prison sentence for two years.