From left, Shane Williams, Paul McKenzie, Thomas Wilkie and Andrew Edge
Three members of the English Defence League have been found guilty of violent disorder during a demonstration which saw police pelted with missiles.
Thomas Wilkie, aged 22, of Kent Road, Wednesbury, was found guilty by a jury for his part in the violence on July 20 last year. Andrew Edge, 44, of Wellington Road, South Stockport and Shane Williams, 26, of Dragon Lane, Leicester, were also convicted. Paul McKenzie, aged 48, of Braemar Road, Billingham, was cleared of the offence.
Edge, who asked to be remanded into custody, chanted “EDL, EDL” as he was led away by dock officers. His Honour Judge Richard Bond told the jury: “Well there you go, resounding confirmation the verdict you returned was the correct one.”
Wilkie and Williams were both bailed to be sentenced at a later date. They were warned by the judge they face jail when they return to Birmingham Crown Court for sentence.
He said: “Anyone who took any part in this violent disorder crosses the custody threshold immediately. That will be in the forefront of my mind when I sentence every defendant in this case. However, I am not tying my hands because I have not heard any mitigation for any defendants in this case.”
Over 40 others have already pleaded guilty to the same offence which saw bloodshed on the streets of Birmingham. Police were showered with bottles, cans and bricks during as 2,000 members of the EDL held a demonstration in Centenary Square.
David Webb, prosecuting, had earlier told the jury: “There was some pushing and lunging towards the police and kicking and punching. Things were being thrown at police, bricks and stones, things of that nature.” Reinforcements were drafted in, with officers wearing full protective gear, and the disorder lasted a number of hours, the court heard.
Mr Bennett said at one stage the demonstrators used a mobile toilet as a weapon against police before the situation calmed. “A number of police officers were injured during the course of the incident, a number of demonstrators were injured and a great deal of property was damaged,” he said.
Andrew Edge played a prominent role in the EDL campsite protest outside Rotherham police station. He told a Vice reporter: “I don’t mind being called a racist if it stops another child in this country being groomed and raped by a Pakistani.”
Update: See “Three face jail over violence at EDL protest”, Express & Star, 17 October 2014
“Edge was seen to push a Portaloo at police, which Dc Neil Weston, who had studied thousands of hours of footage from the rally, said had been used as a battering ram by protesters. Edge told police in an interview that it had been pushed onto his head and he was trying to get it off.”