Six far-right thugs who ambushed and battered people going to an anti-fascist benefit gig have been jailed. They were among a gang believed to be affiliated to the North West Infidels, who in a pre-planned attack, without warning set upon their heavily outnumbered victims on their way to the event in Liverpool city centre.
A group of men, including seven who were caught, rushed towards them, throwing punches and kicks. The violence then spilled from the street into the nearby Tabac cafe on Bold Street, where the violence continued among shocked diners.
The gang left their victims battered and bruised and ran off, covering the lower half of their faces to hide their identity as they ran. But a Merseyside police inspector was on duty that evening, July 6 last year, and at about 7.15pm, saw the gang running from the scene.
He recognised a teenager amongst the group and relayed information to the police control room, then carried on chasing the offenders and, as they vaulted a fence, arrested one defendant, 22-year-old Matthew Coates. Two more were arrested shortly after the attack and others identified from CCTV of the area.
Six were jailed on Thursday at Liverpool Crown Court while a seventh defendant failed to attend and is now being hunted by police. Michael Kearns, 41, of Dovecot Avenue, Liverpool, Liam Pinkham, 24, of Victoria Road, Wallasey, Merseyside, Shane Calvert, 31, of Shetland Close, Blackburn, Peter Hawley, 53, of Ailsa Road, Blackburn, Lancashire, Matthew Coates, 22, of New Lane Place, Southport and Steven Dumont, 18, of Rosewood Close, Liverpool all pleaded guilty to violent disorder at an earlier hearing.
Kearns was sentenced to 14 months imprisonment, Pinkham was jailed for 17 months, Coates was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment and Calvert received a 14 month jail term. Hawley was jailed for 13 months and Dumont was jailed for five months imprisonment for violent disorder and four months for a public order offence, to run consecutively.
Nathan Smith, 21, of Kingsway, Huyton, Liverpool, failed to appear at court today and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. Detective Constable Mike Russell, of the North West Counter Terrorism Unit, said: "Not only did these men descend on the victims, but they carried out the attack in front of members of the public.
"They knew that there was a Unite Against Fascism benefit event taking place in the city centre that night and they specifically targeted their victims following various disputes between the two opposing groups. As a result of the investigation, the men have been convicted of violent disorder."
Members of the public with any information or concerns regarding domestic extremism, are asked to call the Confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321.