Fan jailed for Kirkland attack
A football fan has been jailed for 16 weeks after he admitted attacking a goalkeeper during a televised football match.
Aaron Cawley, 21, from Cheltenham, pleaded guilty to assault and invading the pitch during Sheffield Wednesday's home match against Leeds on Friday night.
Cawley, who appeared at Sheffield Magistrates' Court, was arrested after Wednesday keeper Chris Kirkland was pushed in the face during the game at Hillsborough. The incident was one of a number of ugly scenes at the Yorkshire derby, which ended in a 1-1 draw.
Kirkland, who has played for England, was shoved to the ground moments after conceding an equaliser in the 76th minute.
A man was clearly seen running from the Leeds fans onto the pitch and pushing Kirkland in the face before running back into the crowd. The incident was caught on camera by Sky Sports, which was broadcasting the game.
Unemployed labourer Cawley stood in the glass-fronted dock wearing a blue T-shirt which left an "LUFC" tattoo clearly visible on his neck and a Leeds United club crest on his right arm. The court heard that he had been the subject of two football banning orders in the past, which he had breached four times.
Despite living with his mother in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, he had supported Leeds United all his life and went to every game - home and away, a district judge was told. Prosecutor Paul Macaulay said Cawley told police he was so drunk he could not remember the incident, which has been seen by millions of TV viewers.
Mr Macaulay said Cawley told officers he had drunk a number of cans of Stella Artois lager on Friday morning, followed by three-quarters of a litre of vodka - all before he got to Sheffield by train. Once in Sheffield, he had a further seven to 10 pints of cider, the court heard.
District Judge Naomi Redhouse heard that Cawley, of Blenheim Square, Cheltenham, only realised what he had done when other people told him and then he saw himself clearly on TV. He emailed the police to say sorry and also emailed Sky Sports in the hope that his apology would be passed on to the two clubs and Kirkland.
Cawley admitted common assault and going on to a football pitch. He was jailed for 16 weeks and ordered to pay £85 costs. The district judge said he will be given a new banning order, probably for five years, but the details of this will be sorted later.