Football: Fan jailed for attacking Aston Villa's Jack Grealish

  • 12/03/2019

A Birmingham City supporter has been sentenced to 14 weeks in jail, after admitting assault on Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish during their English Championship football clash on Monday (NZ time).

Paul Mitchell, 27, ran onto the pitch just 10 minutes into the game and hit Grealish from behind.

"Mr Grealish felt a punch to the right side of his lower jaw and he realised he had been assaulted by a Blues supporter," prosecutor Jonathan Purser said.

"Footage showed him taking a running swing and jumping on the back of Mr Grealish and throwing that punch. It appears to have caused no physical injuries, fortunately."

Grealish later scored to give Villa a 1-0 victory over Birmingham.

The 27-year-old Mitchell entered his guilty plea at Birmingham Magistrates' Court early on Monday.

He was also ordered to pay £350 (N$Z672) in fines and costs, and has been banned from attending any football matches in the UK for 10 years.

In a statement read into the court record by prosecutor Purser, Grealish said: "I cannot help but feel how lucky I was in this incident.

Football: Fan jailed for attacking Aston Villa's Jack Grealish
Photo credit: AAP

"It could have been so much worse, had the supporter had some sort of weapon."

Mitchell's lawyer told the hearing that his client's family had to leave their home "through fear that they would suffer serious harm or even death", following online comments about the incident.

Birmingham City welcomed the sentence and said it would not tolerate such incidents.

"What he did was unacceptable and has no place in football," the club said in a statement. "The club can confirm that Mr Mitchell is banned from our home ground... for life. 

"And nor will he have access to purchase tickets for away games involving Birmingham City Football Club or have tickets purchased on his behalf."

City said it had also banned another supporter for life for "a series of vile and malicious Tweets on social media, relating to Jack Grealish and his family".


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