LONDON (AP) – A British soccer fan has been jailed for 12 months for punching a police horse in the head after his team lost a derby match.
Barry Rogerson was one of several fans arrested after violence erupted following Newcastle United's 3-0 loss to Sunderland on Apr. 14. Clashes between their fans aren't uncommon because of the fierce rivalry between both teams.
The 45-year-old Rogerson, who was drunk, first clapped in the face of, then punched Bud, a horse working for West Yorkshire Police.
Newcastle Crown Court heard that during sustained disorder across the city, Rogerson had remained close to a mounted police line in the city. He was drunk and began to clap in a horse's face, before squaring up to one of the animals and punching it in the head.
Sentencing Rogerson to 12 months in prison for violent disorder, Judge Paul Sloan QC said: "You attended the football match and by the time it ended you were much the worse for drink. You had taken it in conjunction with prescription medicine knowing you should not have done so."
The judge added: "The crowd surged forward on two occasions and after the first surge you walked amongst the horses clapping your hands in excitement or pleasure at the events. Someone tried to pull you away but you pushed him away.
"A horse started to move towards you and you were told to move back, you had plenty of opportunities to move away. You stood your ground and attacked the horse by punching it in the head. There was a risk of serious injury, the officer could easily have been thrown from the horse and could have sustained serious injury."
Rogerson, of Hartlands, Bedlington, Northumberland, was also banned from attending any football matches in the UK for six years.
He was photographed with a scarf over his face punching Bud, a horse working for West Yorkshire Police. Sentencing a number of other offenders too, Judge Sloan said: "When offenses of this kind are committed by large groups, sentence should include an element of deterrent so those who may be tempted to take part in sustained public disorder know that a significant sentence will be imposed."
FOXSoccer.com's newswire services contributed to this report.