Villa Park violence sees 46 Legia Warsaw supporters charged at special court session in Birmingham

2 December 2023, 20:20 | Updated: 2 December 2023, 21:05

45 Legia Warsaw supporters charged after violence at Villa Park on Thursday saw police officers pelted with missiles before a Europa Conference League match with Aston Villa.
45 Legia Warsaw supporters charged after violence at Villa Park on Thursday saw police officers pelted with missiles before a Europa Conference League match with Aston Villa. Picture: Alamy

By Chay Quinn

45 Legia Warsaw supporters have been charged after violence at Villa Park on Thursday saw police officers pelted with missiles before a match with Aston Villa.

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A district judge and a swathe of magistrates sat at Birmingham Crown Court on a rare Saturday sitting to charge the 46 individuals - bailing almost 30 of those charged.

Among them was a 22-year-old Polish woman who pleaded not guilty to violent disorder in the Midlands.

The female defendant and the majority of more than 40 men arrested by West Midlands Police were charged with violent disorder after missiles, including flares, were thrown towards police at and near a coach park on Thursday.

Read More: Police officer set on fire and three more hurt after Polish football fans unleash 'planned violence' at Aston Villa game

One of the numerous court hearings held on Saturday, dealing with between one and five defendants in turn, was told "egregious, sustained and horrific" violence, beginning shortly before 6pm and extending until 8pm, saw bricks, bottles and a portable toilet thrown at police.

Police officers clash with Legia Warsaw fans outside the ground before the UEFA Europa Conference League match between their teams
Police officers clash with Legia Warsaw fans outside the ground before the UEFA Europa Conference League match between their teams. Picture: Getty

It is also alleged that a police van was subjected to an attempt to set it on fire, while a flare and a lit flag were allegedly used to cause injuries to two officers.

Police said a total of five officers, two police dogs and two police horses were injured after violence erupted when visiting supporters were not given tickets, as previously arranged, to enter Villa Park.

Among two supporters charged with attacking police officers was Darius Buras, who denied a count of assaulting multiple emergency workers and a separate charge of violent disorder.

Buras, of Erdington, Birmingham, was granted conditional bail.

The 57-year-old and the other defendants dealt with on Saturday were all ordered to reappear at Birmingham Crown Court on January 5.

The court heard that the second defendant charged with assault, who is from Poland, is not accused of taking part in the violent disorder near Villa Park, having been arrested at a pub near Aston University.

Officers are continuing to review CCTV and body-worn video footage to identify further suspects after "what was an appalling and violent public disorder".

Hearings were held at a rare Saturday sitting at Birmingham Crown Court
Hearings were held at a rare Saturday sitting at Birmingham Crown Court. Picture: Alamy

Detective Superintendent Jim Munro, who is overseeing the criminal investigation, said: "Our investigation is very much continuing and we'll be reviewing footage and speaking to witnesses over the coming days.

"To charge this number of people so soon after such a major disorder has taken a huge effort by staff who have been working around the clock.

"We've had a number of messages of thanks from the club and fans who were present on Thursday night and saw the policing operation first hand, and we are really grateful for that support."

Another Legia fan charged with possessing a knife has been bailed to appear before court at a later date.

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