Teen avoids jail over Walsall EDL violence as nine more sentenced

EDL in Walsall: Protests by the English Defence League EDL in Walsall: Protests by the English Defence League

Samuel Phipps was among nine people sentenced for their roles in the violence at the protest last September

A boy who was just 17 when he took part in a violent English Defence League protest has become the youngest person sentenced for his role in the trouble.

A judge said student Samuel Phipps was “quite active in the violence” in Walsall town centre even though he was “not old enough to vote”.

Passing sentence, Judge Nicholas Webb said Phipps, from Lingfield Drive, Great Wyrley, squared up to police and clearly got “carried away by the excitement of the moment”.

The teenager, now 18, admitted violent disorder and was given a 16-month suspended sentence. He was also ordered to perform 200 hours unpaid work and placed on supervision for a year.

Phipps was among nine people sentenced on Tuesday (Dec 17) for their roles in the violence at the protest last September.

A total of 32 were being dealt with at Wolverhampton Crown Court throughout this week.

The court previously heard trouble flared between 600 EDL supporters and 200 members of the Unite Against Fascism movement.

The judge said Benjamin Banfield was “at the forefront and never far from trouble”.

The 35-year-old, from Bristol, was involved in hand-to-hand fighting with police. He also admitted violent disorder and was jailed for 20 months.

Dean Lidster, 44, of London; Christopher Jelley, 28, from Shrewsbury, and 35-year-old Mark Conroy, of no fixed address, also admitted violent disorder.

The court heard Lidster was consistently at the front of the demonstration attacking police officers. He was jailed for 28 months.

Jelley, who kicked out at a police officer and tried to grab a riot shield while carrying a racially offensive placard, was sent to prison for 22 months.

Conroy adopted an aggressive fighting stance, said the Judge, and he punched out at police officers.

He was jailed for 30 months.

Kirk Jones, 28, from Hinkley, was jailed for 33 months and 48-year-old John Cureton, from Coventry, received three years.

Dean Smith, 33, of Brunswick Park Road, Wednesbury, was sent to prison for 27 months and 38-year-old Dean Shultz, of Burns Close, Farnborough, was put behind bars for 45 months.

They were also convicted of violent disorder and the Judge was told Shultz had 92 previous convictions.

From The Birmingham Mail . Report by James Cartledge. 1812.13

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