Saxmundham: Ipswich Town fan banned from matches for three years after fight following QPR game

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- Credit: Archant

A Saxmundham man who battled in the street outside a London football stadium after an Ipswich Town match – landing 11 blows as police struggled to separate the pair – has been banned from matches for three years but spared jail.

Construction site manager James Ballantyne, 36, of Church Road, Friston, Saxmundham, Suffolk pleaded guilty to affray outside QPR’s ground on August 17, but claimed he was not an Ipswich follower.

Hammersmith Magistrates’ Court heard it was about 5pm when a home fan approached Ballantyne and his group aggressively in South Africa Road following QPR’s win.

“CCTV shows that a fight breaks out and Mr Ballantyne threw 11 punches, which landed on either the head or body of the other man,” said prosecutor Martin Edwards.

“The QPR fan, who was also arrested, threw approximately eight punches, but Mr Ballantyne, the much bigger of the two, started to get the better of him.

“Police officers moved in to break up the fight that was now on the floor, but that did not deter the two men continuing to try to get at one another and the officers used batons and distraction punches.”

Mr Edwards said that police later questioned Ballantyne and continued: “He said he did not know the area and that is why he was lingering outside the ground. He admitted that he threw punches.”

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Ballantyne, who has convictions for assault and threatening behaviour, told the court: “I did not initiate the fight and I had gone to the match with some close friends that I used to play football with.

“I don’t support Ipswich, but I admit that when I was attacked I went too far and I used excessive force to defend myself.

“I should keep my job as long as I don’t go to prison and I am the sole provider for my family.”

District Judge Elizabeth Roscoe sentenced Ballantyne to 200 hours community service and ordered him to pay £80 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

She told him: “This was a nasty incident and fortunately it did not escalate into a larger fight involving 20, 30, 40 people and you did not stop when the police arrived. It was unwarranted.”

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