Bouncer admits stamping on German football fan's head in Concert Square leaving him brain damaged

A bouncer has admitted stamping on a German football fan's head in Concert Square leaving him fighting for life with multiple skull fractures and bleeds on the brain. Ryan Lacey, 23, was caught up in a mass brawl[1] after a contingent of Eintracht Frankfurt fans travelled to the city to "participate in violence." After initially trying to defend a colleague, Lacey was filmed "body-slamming" a local man, Damion Tucker, who was mistaken for one of the German group, before stamping on the head of Jan Richter-Gemer.

Liverpool Crown Court heard Mr Richter-Gemer, 25, spent weeks in Aintree hospita[2] l where he required intensive treatment for multiple skull fractures and bleeds on the brain - including a tracheotomy to help him breathe and dialysis after suffering kidney failure. Robert Dudley, prosecuting, said the victim was only able to breathe unassisted after three weeks, and has now been repatriated to Germany where he is being treated in hospital for "ongoing cognitive issues." He told the court: "The background to this case lies in a football rivalry overseas.

On November 23 Everton FC were due to host Atalanta in a match in the Europa League.

Ryan Lacey, 23, of Dunluce Street in Walton, admitted GBH on a German football fan after a mass brawl in Concert Square. Picture from Facebook

"Atalanta are an Italian football club, but their fans have developed a fierce rivalry with fans of the German team, Eintracht Frankfurt. "So it was that in the lead up to Everton's Europa League match that a number of Eintracht Frankfurt fans travelled to Liverpool - many with the apparent intention of provoking, and participating in, physical violence."

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The court heard a 20-30 strong group of German men entered Concert Square in the city centre at around 10.35pm on November 22, but began to "kick off" after being refused entry to Soho bar in Wood Street.

Doormen from nearby bars, including Lacey who was working at Level bar, were called to assist and formed a barrier between the German fans and Soho.

Bouncer admits stamping on German football fan's head in Concert Square leaving him brain damagedThe moment bouncer Ryan Lacy body slams a man to the ground

Mr Dudley said: "Glasses and bar stools were thrown at the door staff, the football fans lashed out with punches and kicks, they put in gum shields and they removed their belts to use as weapons. "At least one doorman was struck in the face and there came a time when one of the doormen was dragged out of the line by the German fans. He was dragged to the floor and other door staff went to retrieve their colleague, and were able to do so.

"I should make it clear that CCTV shows that Mr Richter-Gemer put his hood up, put his fists up and he headed towards the violent conflict with the doormen." Passers-by enjoying a night out began to become caught up in a brawl, with most able to run for safety. But Mr Dudley said: "Damion Tucker wasn't as lucky as those who ran away."

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The court heard as Mr Tucker was stood on the steps of Soho with a friend when a bouncer was dragged away by the German fans.

The doorman piled in to rescue their colleague, but Mr Tucker was caught in the melee and grabbed by Lacey. Mr Dudley said: "CCTV showed the defendant going to the opposite side of Wood Street, picking a man up, turning him upside down and driving his hear towards the ground in the same way as a wrestling move or a spear tackle in rugby." However luckily Mr Tucker was able to scramble away and suffered minor cuts and bruises.

As the brawl developed footage filmed by a witness captured a group of doormen surrounding the figure of Mr Richter-Gemer, who was lying prone on the ground. Mr Dudley said: "Footage showed the defendant and others kicked and stamped on Mr Richter-Gemer, leaving him limp and motionless on the ground."

Bouncer admits stamping on German football fan's head in Concert Square leaving him brain damagedRyan Lacey, 23, of Dunluce Street in Walton, admitted GBH on a German football fan after a mass brawl in Concert Square. Picture from Facebook

The court heard the recording captured an "audible crack" consistent with the victim's skull fracturing.

Mr Richter-Gemer was helped by his friends but collapsed further down the street, where an ambulance eventually picked him up. Lacey, who has no previous convictions, was later arrested and told police he and his colleagues had been attacked by football hooligans, and he "feared for his life." When showed the footage he said he was "gobsmacked" and did not remember stamping on Mr Richter Gemer.

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Lacey, of Dunluce Street in Walton, pleaded guilty to causing GBH to Mr Richter-Gemer with intent, and assaulting Mr Tucker, causing actual bodily harm, at Liverpool Crown Court today.

He had originally been charged with the attempted murder of Mr Richter-Gemer and causing GBH to Mr Tucker, but The Crown Prosecution Service agreed to accept pleas to the lower charges.

Judge David Aubrey, QC, told Lacey that he required a pre-sentence report before passing sentence, but warned him he faced a "custodial sentence of some length."

The case was adjourned until January 29 and Lacey was remanded into custody.

References

  1. ^ Ryan Lacey, 23, was caught up in a mass brawl (www.liverpoolecho.co.uk)
  2. ^ Richter-Gemer, 25, spent weeks in Aintree hospita (www.liverpoolecho.co.uk)

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