Hooligan who floored Stevenage defender urged to give himself up
POLICE are hunting a thug who punched a Stevenage player in the aftermath of the club’s giant-killing win over Newcastle.
Officers are trying to find a man who floored defender Scott Laird, leaving him concussed, during a pitch invasion at the Lamex Stadium after the final whistle in Saturday’s historic 3-1 win.
They are appealing for the man to come forward as well as for witnesses to the attack.
Detective Inspector Gary Atkinson said: “We are appealing for the man responsible to make contact. We have a number of leads, but it is in the offender’s best interests to come forward himself.
“Alternatively, if you know where this man is, or are hiding him, please hand him over to us. If you are hiding him, this is a criminal offence and you will be dealt with accordingly.
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“We are also keen to hear from further witnesses at the stadium on the night who saw the assault.”
Club chairman Phil Wallace said in a statement on the club’s website that staff are doing all they can to help police find the attacker who was filmed hitting the defender.
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“The footage the police now have is comprehensive and the assailant can be seen clearly and full on from the moment he enters the pitch,” he said. “He’s run on from the east terrace, holding a red and white scarf - the kind that was being sold outside the ground by local traders before the game.
“He has approached at least three Stevenage players, seeming to wait for an opportunity and then, on his way back, has leaned over a group of Stevenage fans celebrating with Scotty and thrown a punch to the side of the head that was designed to inflict maximum damage. Scotty collapsed unconscious and has no recollection of the incident.
“The assailant then continued his run back to the east terrace waving his scarf to disguise his actions and, according to witnesses, was pulled over the fence by one or more accomplices and fled out of the open exit gates. This person seemed intent on making a random assault on a Stevenage player, after a fantastic victory.
“This is disgraceful behaviour and we will do everything we can to ensure that the assailant is brought to justice and prosecuted. Recognition should not be difficult as the video images of him are crystal clear. This needs to be dealt with quickly and forcibly - not by football because clubs cannot stop someone setting out to with devious intent to inflict harm - but by the law, in that the guilty person should be shown no leniency. This time it was a fist - who knows what it could be next time.
“We do everything we can as a club to prevent this type of incident, following all the recommended procedures, but it seems this lad has set out to disguise his intent so that he can cause physical harm to one of our players and we will work with the police tirelessly until this person is identified and prosecuted.”
Anyone with any information about the crime should ring DI Atkinson on 0845 33 00 222, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.