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Football thug jailed and banned from matches for 10 years after sickening knife attack

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WARNING GRAPHIC IMAGE: An Everton fan said he “couldn’t look at himself in the mirror” after being slashed in the face by a Millwall supporter ahead of the FA Cup tie between the teams in 2019

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Violence at Millwall v Everton match ‘most shocking’ for some time, says Met Police

A Millwall fan who slashed an Everton supporter across the face with a knife ahead of an FA Cup match was jailed for six years.

Billy Cowap, 24, left Jay Burns with life-changing injuries after the attack in January 2019.

Metropolitan Police bosses described the scenes as “some of the most shocking football violence we have seen for some time.”

Kingston Crown Court heard tensions flared between groups of fans close to a home fans’ pub in Southwark, south London on January 26, 2019.

Cowap was jailed for six years and eight months for GBH with intent against Mr Burns, attempted GBH against a second Everton fan, Joel Davies, and violent disorder.

Seven other Millwall fans were also sentenced after pleading guilty to violent disorder at earlier hearings.

The punishments ranged from suspended prison sentences to unpaid work orders.

Billy Cowap has been jailed for attacking an Everton supporter
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Image:

Met Police)

The court heard Cowap was seen on CCTV at the nearby Farriers Arms talking on his phone and putting a scarf over his face before heading to the scene.

He slashed out at one Everton fan with a knife concealed in his hand, the court heard, with one man managing to escape injury by stepping back.

Another man was not able to avoid the knife and was slashed across the face.

Prosecutor Alex Agbamu said: “Besides the physical effects of the injury, Mr Burns said he was suffering anxiety and depression. He is concerned it has harmed his prospects of employment and when people see his face they are put off and deterred from getting to know him better.

“Mr Davis has also suffered, he says he thinks about what might have happened if he hadn’t stepped back in time when the defendant had the knife in his hand.”

Speaking after the incident at the time, Mr Burns said: “I just don’t understand why people carry knives to a football match.

“The scar on my face has completely wrecked my life.”

He claimed Millwall fans sent him abusive messages online, including pictures of Batman villain The Joker, who has distinctive facial scars.

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Speaking of Cowap, Martin McCarthy, defending, said: “This behaviour he finds very difficult to explain. He is a family man, he is devoted to his family and his partner.”

Jailing him, Judge John Lodge said: “Your behaviour in January 2019 was wholly out of proportion to anybody else who I have had to sentence for the shameful events of that day.

“You attended a football match with a knife. You took yourself to the scene of the trouble. You can be seen on the CCTV being at the very front of those who are making trouble slashing out with your knife at somebody who had the good fortune to back away.

“Having failed in that brazen act of violence under the eyes of police officers you took yourself into the mess of the Millwall fans and you slashed at your victim Mr Burns leaving him with a scar which runs and will always run from his eye to the edge of his mouth.

“It is not simply the fact that he carries a scar, it is the fact it has had a lasting impact on his life. His ability to communicate, to go out in public and to obtain employment.”

Cowap, of Abbey Wood, south east London, was also handed a ten-year football banning order.

Jay Burns was left with serious facial injuries following the attack

Two Millwall supporters, Dean West and Alex Jarvis, both 34, were handed suspended prison sentences after a judge heard they have other convictions for football violence.

West, of Basingstoke, Hampshire, was given a ten month sentence suspended for 18 months and Jarvis, 34, of Greenwich, south east London, was handed an eight month prison sentence suspended for 18 months.

The court heard police connected Jarvis in the Everton CCTV with a previous incident at a Bristol City match.

West was given 80 hours of unpaid work and a four-year banning order and Jarvis was given 40 hours of unpaid work and a three year football banning order.

Gary Kenyon, 33, Harry Banks, 22, Charlie Foster, 22, Jack Cracknell, 24 and Brett Taylor, 25, were all given 18 month community orders with unpaid work requirements.

Kenyon, of Carshalton, Surrey, Banks, of Bromley, Foster, of Mottingham, south east London, Cracknell of Sidcup, Bromley, and Taylor, of Abbey Wood, south east London, were also given three year football banning orders.

In October, eight Everton fans were sentenced for their roles in the brawl, with six receiving three year football banning orders, at Southwark Crown Court.

Two received suspended prison sentences, five received community orders and one received a conditional discharge.

The match was won 3-2 by Millwall after an injury time winner by defender Murray Wallace.

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/football-thug-jailed-banned-matches-25698517