Pair deny attacking football fan

TWO men accused of attacking a visiting football fan told a jury they had no intention of getting involved in trouble.

Hartlepool men Dean Carroll and John Welsh are on trial at Teesside Crown Court accused of taking part in a joint attack on an away fan who had been to watch Hartlepool United.

Victim Stanley Ryman, 47, from Sheffield, suffered a badly broken nose after violence flared between Hartlepool locals and Sheffield Wednesday supporters near the town’s railway station last August.

Carroll, 28, and Welsh, 22, are accused of joining in the attack on Mr Ryman with Paul Bennett, 24.

Carroll said he tried to break up a scuffle between Bennett and Mr Ryman and usher Bennet away.

He said he may have accidentally touched Bennett or Mr Ryman when he put his arm between them, but did not know who.

Explaining CCTV footage of the incident, Carroll said: “I was just putting my arm between two people to break them up.”

Carroll said he left a nearby pub out of curiosity when someone came in and said “the Hartlepool and Sheffield fans are at it”.

He denied bragging about being involved in the trouble back at the pub where CCTV appeared to show him mimicking throwing a punch. He said: “People asked me what happened and I showed them what had happened between Mr Bennett and the victim.

“I wasn’t bragging or anything.”

Hartlepool United fan Welsh, a serving soldier with the Yorkshire Regiment, said he left a Church Street bar with others after seeing a group of people gather near the train station.

CCTV showed him walking towards the Sheffield Wednesday fans with others then running away after Ryman and another fan, Kevin Taylor, was seriously assaulted.

Afterwards he appeared to pat Bennett on his back.

Robin Denny, defending, said: “Did you have any intention of getting involved in any sort of violence?”

Welsh replied: “No, none at all.”

Mr Denny added: “There’s been a suggestion that you were effectively patting a major attacker on the back.”

Welsh said: “It was a push to clear him out of Station Approach and prevent further trouble.”

Carroll, of Banff Grove, and Welsh, of Stanmore Grove, both Hartlepool, deny unlawful wounding.

The trial continues.