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Jail for Walsall man involved in Town Hall boxing brawl

By John Scott | Walsall | Crime | Published:

Two men involved in fighting shortly before the death of Reagan Asbury were convicted of violent disorder last month, the Express & Star can now report.

Mobile phone footage shows chairs and tables being thrown at Walsall Town Hall

Lee Hickinbottom, aged 43, and Phillip Smith, 52, both from Bloxwich, admitted to the charge at a hearing at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

Hickinbottom, who was wearing a distinctive red T-shirt at the event, was caught on mobile phone footage throwing two chairs and a table and has now been locked up.

Mr Gerry Bermingham, prosecuting, said: “He [Hickinbottom] was certainly one of the more aggressive and actively involved in the disorder.

"The disturbance did not last long, a few minutes at most. When it finished two distinct groups exited from the hall. Outside there was a fatality."

The defendant was stabbed in the shoulder during violence outside the venue.

Lorry driver Smith, who was at the October 14 event with his 16-year-old son and son-in-law, was captured on film throwing a chair that had been hurled in his direction. It did not hit anybody.

The 52-year-old, who was of previous good character, was later stabbed several times in the stomach and back amid the further trouble outside the town hall, revealed Mr Carl Templar-Vasey, defending Smith.

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Mr Templar-Vasey added: “He is a hard-working family man who deeply regrets getting involved in this.

"It was completely out of character. A chair was thrown at him and he - disinhibited by alcohol - retaliated, wrongly and illegally."

Mr James Bruce, defending Hickinbottom, who had 17 previous convictions, said: "Of course he threw those items. He does not suggest he was a hapless bystander. He takes full responsibility for his actions. A very similar volume of material was coming back from the rival supporters."

Judge James Burbidge QC stressed: “We are only dealing with what went on inside the town hall and are not considering the further disturbance outside.

"These defendants were neither responsible for, nor causative of, that."

Hickinbottom, of Dryden Road, was jailed for 18 months while Smith, of Harrison Street, was given an eight-month term suspended for a year with 150 hours unpaid work and a two-month curfew.

John Scott

By John Scott
Reporter/News Feature Writer

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