Seven sentenced for over 18 years following violent disorder at hotel in Knowsley

Seven men have been sentenced to over 18 years after committing several serious offences during an initially peaceful protest which turned violent at a hotel in Knowsley in February last year.

On Friday, 10 February 2023, a police van was set on fire and missiles were thrown at officers facilitating an initially peaceful protest which turned violent at the Suites Hotel on Ribblers Lane.

Police equipment including riot shields, helmets and metal bars were also taken from inside the van. Three officers were injured in total, with two sustaining minor injuries and one Inspector requiring hospital treatment. In total £83,686 of damage was caused by the incident.

As part of extensive investigations officers analysed over 150 pieces of body-worn video footage, 75 social media clips and four hours of drone footage to prevent any further crime and bring those responsible to justice.

On Thursday 18 May six warrants were executed in Kirkby and Croxteth where officers arrested seven people on suspicion of violent disorder, as part of the investigation.

Four more suspects were arrested and charged in May last year during five more warrants that were executed in Knowsley.

Brain McPadden, aged 61, of Southdene, Kirkby was sentenced to 42 months for violent disorder.

John Tippler, aged 59, of Northwood, Kirkby was sentenced to 24 months imprisonment for violent disorder.

Liam Jones, aged 25, of Southdene, Kirkby was sentenced to 27 months imprisonment for violent disorder.

Paul Lafferty, aged 42, of Northwood, Kirkby, was sentenced to 32 months imprisonment for violent disorder.

Warren Cullen, aged 21, of Westvale, Kirkby, was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment for violent disorder and possession of a criminal drug.

Thomas Mills, aged 47, of Southdene, Kirkby, was sentenced to 32 months imprisonment for violent disorder.

Jonjo O’Donoghue, aged 21, of Liverpool. O’Donoghue was sentenced to 42 months imprisonment for violent disorder.

Detective Chief Inspector John Fitzgerald said, “I hope this result shows that anyone who causes violence and disorder in our community and threatens or harms our officers will be reprimanded and brought to justice.

“This incident stemmed from misinformation, speculation and rumours on social media in February last year that was robustly investigated and no further action was taken against anyone who was involved.

“The violence outside the hotel resulted in £83,686 of damage to our vehicles and facilities which could have been used to protect our residents. Officers were bombarded with various missiles and dispersal zones were put in place in the aftermath of the disorder to prevent any further incidents.

“It is completely unacceptable to intimidate and target particular communities in Knowsley in this appalling manner and those who did caused fear and distress to those residents inside the hotel and to the local community.

“We will always respect the right to protest when these are peaceful but such violence that endangered our officers and others will not be tolerated.

“In this case social media speculation, misinformation and rumour can and does cause serious violence in our community.

“Their sentencing sends a clear message of zero tolerance towards this kind of behaviour within our communities and regions across Merseyside.”

If you have any information about violence, disorder or hate crimes in your area please contact the Merseyside Police social media desk @MerPolCC on Twitter or ‘Merseyside Police Contact Centre’ on Facebook.

If, for any reason, you do not wish to report a hate crime to the police, the independent charity Stop Hate UK to run a 24/7 confidential helpline for all victims of hate crime on 0800 138 1625 or www.stophateuk.org

You can also download the Stop Hate UK reporting app on Google Play or the Apple App Store.

You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via their online form at crimestoppers-uk.org

Image: Merseyside Police

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