Middlesbrough man one of 50 jailed for part in huge EDL rally in Birmingham

A Middlesbrough man is one of 50 behind bars after violence flared at a huge EDL rally.

Kenneth Graham, aged 20, of Ottawa Road, Longlands, Middlesbrough was ordered to spend 26 months behind bars for violent disorder, after the mass protest in Birmingham City Centre on July 20, 2013.

Over the past five weeks, 50 people have appeared at Birmingham Crown Court – and were sentenced for a combined 75 years on Friday.

Most of the violence took part in Birmingham’s Centenary Square, and sparked a massive inquiry from detectives from West Midlands Police criminal investigation department to track down those who brought violence to the streets.

Operations were conducted across the Midlands and further afield to arrest those believed to be involved in the disorder.

Those sentenced came from across England.

Others from the North East include Thomas Milner, 21, of Herbert Street, Darlington, who was jailed for 16 months for violent disorder.

Sentencing for Michael Wilson, aged 20, of Arkley Crescent in Hartlepool was adjourned until 30 January.

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Wallis, who led the nationwide hunt to bring the rioters to justice, said:

“Many lives have been affected by the actions of the rioters on that day. The people who took part in the riots in Birmingham have had their lives turned upside down and so have their families.

“These men now have to spend a period of time in custody away from their families paying the price for their actions. Some family members never even knew their loved ones had been arrested and were facing time in prison.

“These people travelled to Birmingham on July 20 2013 intent on causing violence in the heart of the city. The sentences given of more than 75 years in total sends out a clear message to people intent on causing trouble.”

Around 20 arrests were made in total on the day, with supporters of both factions detained for public order offences.

An appeal on BBC’s Crimewatch in January 2014 led to people identifying themselves to police, while members of the public also contacted officers to give information on the culprits.

Smoke bombs, cobble stones, bottles and coins were hurled at police as the English Defence League and their opponents descended on Birmingham city centre for simultaneous demonstrations.

One policeman suffered concussion during scuffles with protesters while other demonstrators were left bloodied by missiles and clashes with police.

An estimated 2,000 EDL supporters turned up, chanting hate-filled, anti-Islam slogans.

About 300 people – some wearing balaclavas – from Unite Against Fascism and other groups turned out for their counter-demonstration.

More than 1,000 police officers from the West Midlands and other forces had been drafted in to keep the groups apart.

Source –  Middlesbrough Evening Gazette,  12 Jan 2015

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