Police officer says he was obstructed by Rangers fans after trying to escort a man

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Police officer says he was obstructed by Rangers fans after trying to escort a man
Police officer says he was obstructed by Rangers fans after trying to escort a man

A police officer said he was obstructed by Rangers fans after trying to escort a man who was allegedly trying to burn an opposition flag.

PC Dean Mitchell, 32, stated he saw the suspect with what he assumed was a Wrexham flag at Ibrox Stadium during a minor cup match on November 16, 2019.

The officer told Glasgow Sheriff Court that supporters in the Rangers end intervened when colleagues asked the man to exit the stand.

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Andrew Watt, 31, is on trial for allegedly conducting himself in a disorderly manner at Ibrox.

The Rangers Colts team were hosting the Wrexham in the Tunnocks Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup at the time.

Prosecutors claim Watt was in possession of an opposition flag.

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It is stated he made attempts to ignite the flag and wave it in a provocative manner at the Wrexham fans.

Watt is then alleged to have resisted, obstructed or hindered a police officer after being arrested and taken into custody.

The charge claims Watt broke free from PC John Doherty’s grasp, struggled with him and made off.

Co-accused Lloyd Cross, 30, William Cross, 61, and Christopher Stewart, 26, face a charge of behaving in a threatening or abusive manner at Ibrox.

It is claimed the trio behaved aggressively towards police officers and pushed them as well as other members of the public.

The men also face allegations that they shouted and swore, stood on seats, and attempted to strike PC Stephen Begg on the body.

Lloyd Cross faces a further charge of assaulting PC Lukas Erhardt by seizing his body and armour before pushing him to the ground.

PC Mitchell told the court in evidence that he was in the segregated area of the Sandy Jardine stand when his attention was brought to a man in the Rangers section.

He said: “The member of the home support had possession of an away flag and was making attempts to set that on fire and get a reaction from the away crowd.”

Prosecutor Heather Naismith asked what the man was doing with the flag.

The officer replied: “He had a cigarette lighter and was making attempts to set it on fire.”

PC Mitchell stated he and two colleagues went to where the suspect was and requested that he exit the stand.

He added: “We made our way to the top of the stand to exit the concourse and we were obstructed from doing so by a number of others.”

PC Mitchell stated that the man responsible for the attempted flag burning was called “Andrew” but could not recall his surname.

Billy Lavelle, defending Lloyd Cross, put it to the witness that the “so called Wrexham fans” were singing IRA songs at the time which the officer denied hearing.

The lawyer asked: “Up until you and colleagues could get down, the situation was pretty calm?”

The officer replied: “Yes.”

Sergeant Stephen Gallagher, 45, told the court that he saw PC Lukas Erhardt being pushed to the ground after he tried to exit.

He stated that the man who tried to burn the flag made off amid “shouting and swearing” at officers.

Sgt Gallagher added that a man was struck with pepper spray during the incident with the fans.

The sergeant stated that a group of hoodied fans gathered outside Ibrox after the game and tried to get back into the stadium.

He said: “They were shouting in unison ‘Attack, attack, attack’.

“I instructed officers to form a cordon and a man came towards me to rush the police line to get in the stadium and I struck him with a baton.”

Sgt Gallagher identified Stewart in the dock as one of the men who shoved him and told him to “F*** off” during the incident inside the stadium.

Paul Sweeney, defending Stewart, stated: "Is it possible that your recollection might be different and the person you pushed wasn't the person you identified?"

Sgt Gallagher: "I'm sure I shoved that person several times."

Mr Sweeney: "Is it possible you are mistaken about that?"

Sgt Gallagher: "I am human, it is possible."

The trial will continue at the end of the month before Sheriff Mark McGuire.

Lloyd Cross, of the city’s Kings Park, William Cross, of Croftfoot, Stewart, of Pollok, and Watt, of Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire, remain on bail meantime.

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