Lifelong Spurs fan escapes ban after ‘grabbing and injuring’ police officer at Chelsea disorder

Rory Mullane was slapped with a 12-month community order and a 28-day curfew at Westminster Magistrates Court.

A lifelong Tottenham fan has escaped a football banning order after “grabbing” a police officer during a Chelsea match.

Rory Mullane, of Lawn Close, Ruislip, Hillingdon, was slapped with a 12-month community order and a 28-day curfew at Westminster Magistrates Court on Monday.

Mullane, 28, previously pleaded guilty to assaulting PC Mahad Abdalla at a Chelsea v Tottenham football match on January 23, 2022, but denied punching him, the court heard.

During “low-level disorder” at the Premier League game, held at Stamford Bridge, he moved forwards towards a line separating the fans of the rival clubs and was pushed back by police, the judge was told.

Giovani Lo Celso of Tottenham Hotspur and Callum Hudson-Odoi of Chelsea in action during the Carabao Cup Semi Final Second Leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea. Credit: Visionhaus/Getty Images

Defending, Robert Perkins, of Football Law Associates, said: “He did at that point, in retaliation, grab hold of the officer by the top of his vest and in doing so he must have caught the officer in the face.

“He accepts he caused the injury. He denies punching the police officer. He would never punch a police officer. He has huge respect for the police. He lost his temper.”

While David Burns, prosecuting, said: “There was some minor disorder which the officers attempted to deal with.

“It was at that point Mr Mullane assaulted the officer. The Crown’s case was that the officer was punched.”

The court heard PC Abdalla suffered “slight swelling to the bottom of the left eye and a constant sharp stinging pain”.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 05: A general view as the teams warm up ahead of the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Chelsea and Plymouth Argyle at Stamford Bridge on February 05, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Mr Mullane, who appeared in court dressed in a white shirt under a dark jumper, dark trousers and smart shoes, spoke to confirm his name, address and date of birth.

He told the court he had followed football “since he was born”, played semi-professionally and held Queen’s Park Rangers and Tottenham Hotspur season tickets, as well as attending games abroad in Spain, Germany and the Netherlands, and had never been in any trouble.

He said: “PC Abdalla grabbed or punched my neck - that’s when I grabbed him back just to hold him at arm’s length. I was scared he was going to go again.”

But he told the court he was remorseful, adding: “I’m embarrassed. I’ve kept it within my family.

“My dad used to be a magistrate… It’s embarrassing. I can’t believe I’ve done it. Now I’ve got to pay the consequences of it.”

He continued: “The 28-days and the money I’ve spent coming here and the lost earnings is enough to teach me… I don’t need to be taught because I’m never going to do it again.”

Police officers patrol outside as supporters arrive at the ground ahead of the English Premier League football match (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Mullane, a construction project manager, who has no previous convictions, was sentenced to a 12-month community order.

District judge Annabel Pilling also ordered him to abide by a 28-day curfew from 5am to 9pm, but stopped short of imposing a football banning order.

She said: “A football banning order is not designed to be a punishment. It is a preventative measure.

“In your case, you are 28 years old, in steady and responsible employment, and you’ve never been in trouble before.

“I’ve found genuine remorse, not just because you’ve been caught but for what you became involved in.

“There is nothing that makes me satisfied [that] it is necessary to make the order to prevent violence or disorder and therefore I am refusing the application and not making the order.”

Mr Mullane was also instructed to pay PC Abdalla £200 compensation, £85 in costs and a £95 surcharge, totalling £380.