A campaign launched by friends and family of the “Miners’ 21” jailed for an attack on rival football fans has attracted almost 2,500 members.
#Justice21 has been launched on Facebook and Twitter at @blyjustice21 quizzing evidence produced in the trial at Preston Crown Court, which led to 20 men and a 17-year-old boy sentenced for violent disorder.
My husband was in the wrong place at the wrong time.Kirsti Raynor Tattersall, campaigner
The incident at the Burnley Miners’ Club in Plumbe Street was after Sheffield Wednesday’s draw with Burnley at Turf Moor on January 18th, 2014. Nineteen of the men and the boy were jailed for between five and 22 months in April this year. The final defendant was ordered to carry out unpaid work.
Campaigners have produced a leaflet which disputes evidence and the method of the police’s investigation and questions why there were no Sheffield Wednesday supporters prosecuted despite the trial hearing they had initially fought back.
However, a Lancashire Police spokesman refuted the claims, saying: “We are aware of various allegations in relation to the investigation which followed the disorder at Burnley Miners Club in Plumbe Street following the match between Burnley FC and Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday 18 January 2014.
“Video evidence played a crucial part in identifying the suspects who had no rational reason to attend the Miners Club and participate in the violence.
One campaigner Kirsti Raynor Tattersall, whose husband Lee was jailed for 20 months and given a 10 year football banning order says many of the 20 have been tarnished with the same brush.
She told the Express: “From a personal point of view, my husband was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“He went in six minutes after (it started) and wasn’t ever with the group. He got a glass in his face and came back out. Twenty months for walking in and out of a pub is very, very harsh.
“We held a meeting at the Burnley League Club and decided there was no point in appealing because if it fails they will serve the full sentence on top of the time already served. He gets out on October 11th with a tag.
“We are in the middle of making an official complaint against the police and want to complain about the judge.”
The police spokesman added: “The video evidence, which was played in court, clearly captures the disgraceful behaviour of all those involved who have subsequently been convicted of the offence.
“There can be no excuse for the behaviour that is clearly captured in this footage.
“Throughout our investigation we have worked closely with the public and Burnley FC in order to identify those involved we would like to thank them again for their support and assistance.
“We are aware that a large amount of the social media activity has been directed towards the Burnley Miners Club, in response to any assistance they provided to the police investigation.
“This is a well-respected local establishment with a good reputation, which did nothing to encourage or invite this violent incident, which left the club suffering damage which cost thousands of pounds to repair.
“Lancashire Constabulary are closely monitoring social media activity in relation to this matter and should any comments amount to criminal offences then these will be dealt with robustly and those responsible for such comments will be dealt with accordingly.”