Stag party men deny Newbury Racecourse fight charges

Newbury racecourse
Image caption The court heard the fight at Newbury Racecourse lasted up to 15 minutes

Four men who were on a stag outing have denied being involved in a fight between football fans at a racecourse.

The jury at Reading Crown Court saw footage of a brawl on 14 July last year in which Cardiff City and Swansea City supporters clashed at Newbury races.

Wales international Leigh Halfpenny was in the rugby club stag party, but was not involved in the disorder the court was told.

At the time, police said up to 60 people were involved in the fight.

The British and Irish Lions full-back was among 50 people in the stag group. Many of them were members of Gorseinon Rugby Club, near Llanelli.

Robert Jenkins, 32, of Heathfield, Gorseinon; Ryan Thomas, 29, Brynffynon Road, Gorseinon; Joshua Davies, 24, of Priors Way, Dunvant; and David Jenkins, 32, of Gryn Rhos, Llanelli; all deny charges of affray.

'Organised fight'

One member of the stag party, off-duty police officer Gareth Starr, described the fight as "one of the most violent things he had ever seen".

Mr Starr, a detective constable with the Metropolitan Police, told the court: "What stood this incident apart from other violent episodes I have witnessed, is that it lasted so long.

"It went on for between 10 to 15 minutes, resulting in a number of people being knocked unconscious."

Mr Starr said the groom's father was one of those badly injured.

He also told the jury he recalled the words Soul Crew being chanted by a group of men towards the end of the fighting.

He explained from his time policing football matches, the words were a reference to a hooligan element of Cardiff City supporters.

"I understand this organised fight was due to happen the day before, but due to weather cancelling another race meeting, it happened at Newbury on that Saturday," said Mr Starr.

The fight was caught on Channel 4 Racing's live coverage of the meeting, footage of which was shown repeatedly to the jury.

The trial continues.

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