A Huddersfield man has become the first to be jailed after soccer violence in France.
Alexander Booth was one of two England fans who have been jailed and banned from France after appearing in a Marseille court charged in connection with the weekend violence.
Booth and Ian Hepworth were the first fans to be dealt with after the widespread trouble in the French port city, which left another fan with severe head injuries and Euro 2016 organiser Uefa threatening to ban England and Russia if there is any repeat.
Booth, 20, from Huddersfield, was jailed for two months for throwing a bottle at police and banned from France for two years.
Hepworth, 41, a psychiatric nurse from Sheffield, was given a three month sentence for the same offence and the same ban.
Before being dealt with, Booth told the court: “I would like to say sorry to the police and to the people and city of Marseille.
“This is not like me; I’m not a violent person. I love my job and my family. I’ve never been involved in football hooliganism.
“I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Booth was accused of throwing a plastic bottle at the police during the trouble.
Still wearing his England shirt, he said it may have looked like it was aimed for the police but it was not.
He said: “I have never had problems with the police, I respect the police very much. I am hard working.”
England fans react to violence in Marseille
According to court papers, it was Booth’s 20th birthday on Sunday.
Speaking after the court hearing, Booth’s father insisted his son was innocent.
Chris Booth said: “It’s the lowest of the low. I feel angry, furious, let down.
“Along with my brother we came across to go to the fanzones. On the day, we got the train here from our campsite.
“It started to get rowdy in the Old Port. We had been tear-gassed a few times. We moved back to get out the way of things.
“This is when he is supposed to have thrown the plastic glass but my brother said there’s no way he threw it.
“All I can think is they said to him if you admit to this you will get out.
“He’s been in a solitary cell for 48 hours, still in the same clothes. I have not been able to speak to him or see him.
“I think he is being made a scapegoat. We are all very respectable people.
“I have witnessed so much violence and hooliganism during these two days.
“Alex did get angry and gobby after he was pepper sprayed but we were walking to the stadium and a police officer pointed at him and he was taken off.”
Hepworth was accused of throwing a bottle at the police and then walking forward to pick up a second bottle.
He claimed he could not remember what had happened.
The shocking vioelnce flared before, during and after England,s opening Euro 2016 game in Marseilles against Russia.
Riot police fought running battles with fans throughout the city.
Most of the 35 people who were injured in the fighting were English.
England fan Andrew Bache was left in a coma after being reportedly ambushed by a gang of Russians.
The Portsmouth supporter was left fighting for his life when violent clashes broke out during the Three Lions’ opening game in Marseille.
He suffered a brain injury after he was hit several times with an iron bar.
The 51-year-old’s injuries are said to be no longer life-threatening but could be life-changing, according to a source close to the family.
Another Huddersfield man Tom Scandling was hurled into the harbour in Marseilles after being attacked, apparently by a gang of Russian fans.