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Crystal Palace fan admits vioent disorder charge after Brighton brawl

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A CRYSTAL Palace fan who denied involvement in a violent brawl with Brighton supporters has changed his plea to guilty. James Hackett, of Norbury Avenue, Thornton Heath, was one of eight Palace fans on trial after the dust-up near Kings Cross Station on November 10 last year. Blackfriars Crown Court previously heard how glasses and sandwich boards were thrown, and punches and kicks rained in, as the brawl escalated in a pub. Police had anticipated there might be trouble but dozens of officers were incorrectly sent to Victoria Station – leaving just two to deal with the violence on the other side of central London. The court heard how Hackett, 21, could be seen " jumping up and down in a victory pose, throwing glasses and having a fierce face-to-face confrontation." He initially pleaded not guilty to a charge of violent disorder but changed his plea on Tuesday. Another defendant James Butler, 22, of Beeches Crescent, Crawley, has had the charges against him dropped. The remaining six, who all deny violent disorder, were awaiting a verdict, with the jury due to be sent out as the Advertiser went to press. These are; Adam Marshall, 23, of Aston Way, Epsom, Declan Clarke, 22, of Miles Road, Epsom, James Dean, 26, of Rowlands Road, Worthing, Jamie Finch, 23, of Reigate Road, Epsom, Hayden Johnson, 20, of Jesmond Road, Addiscombe, and Dean Kirby, 29, of West Park Road, in Newchapel, Surrey. Hackett will be sentenced once the other verdicts are in. The court previously heard how the Palace fans arrived at King's Cross after their team had played Peterborough United, and the Brighton group arrived at nearby Euston Station following a match against Wolves. Prosecutor Brendan Morris said: "The Crystal Palace fans went to the Flying Scotsman by King's Cross where beers and strippers were on the menu. "A barman expressed concerns that the group were organising themselves. Instead of watching the strippers they were by the door appearing to look down the road. He felt that trouble was on its way. "The Brighton group had got off a train at Euston and chose to head to the Flying Scotsman. Was it a coincidence, or had the phone activity been the groups arranging to meet? It is not unheard of for these meets to be arranged. "The landlord said what unfolded was one of the most serious acts of violence he had ever seen. "The incident starts with goading and chanting. 'Sea, sea, seasiders' from the Brighton fans and 'we're top of the league' could be heard from the Crystal Palace fans. "This was the grandstanding before sandwich boards and glasses, both plastic and pub glasses, were thrown. People fall on the floor and are kicked by several people. "One Brighton fan rushes blindly into the group of Crystal Palace fans and takes what must have been good beating until the officers managed to intervene and rescue him. "It was fan against fan, toe-to-toe."

Crystal Palace fan admits vioent disorder charge after Brighton brawl


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