Eight men sentenced over asylum hotel disorderon March 18, 2024 at 6:13 pm

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Violence broke out in Knowsley last year at a hotel which had been housing asylum seekers.

A large group had gathered outside the Suites HotelImage source, CPS

Eight men have been sentenced over their involvement in violent disorder after trouble flared at a hotel housing asylum seekers.

Violence broke out outside the Suites Hotel in Knowsley, Merseyside, last year which was providing temporary accommodation for asylum seekers.

A large group had gathered and rocks and fireworks were thrown at police.

Ringleader Brian McPadden, 61, of Kirkby, was jailed for three years and six months at Liverpool Crown Court.

Sentencing the men, His Honour Judge Watson KC said McPadden was the self-appointed front man who rallied and encouraged others for several hours at the protest.

There were gasps from the public gallery as he was jailed.

Thomas Mills, 47, who brought a banner to the protest urging people to shout to get the asylum seekers out, was sentenced to two years and eight months.

Paul Lafferty, 42, was handed the same sentence while Jonjo O’Donoghue, 21, of Liverpool, was sentenced to three years and six months in a young offenders institution.

Warren Cullen (top left), Liam Thomas (bottom left), Jonjo O'Donoghue, Paul Lafferty (top right) and Thomas Mills (bottom right)

Image source, Merseyside Police

Former British Army soldier Liam Jones was sentenced to 27 months while John Tippler, 59, was jailed for two years.

Warren Cullen, who was on a community order at the time of the protest, was jailed for 20 months.

The judge gave Harry Boynton a 16-month suspended sentence along with 200 hours of unpaid work.

‘Protest descended into criminality’

The men had admitted being present on the night but denied violent disorder.

A number of police vehicles were damaged, and a police carrier van was set alight, causing thousands of pounds of damage.

Police officers were injured during the disorder and one needed hospital treatment.

John Tipple (left) and Brian McPadden

Image source, Merseyside Police

The court had heard there was “ill feeling” in the area following a video on social media which appeared to show an asylum seeker asking a 15-year-old girl for her phone number and for a kiss.

Senior prosecutor David Jones said: “This was not a peaceful protest as these men claimed.

“It descended into violence and hostility – most of it directed at the police who had to use all their protective gear to protect themselves and prevent violence spilling over into the hotel.”

Burnt out police van

He added: “The right to peaceful protest is enshrined in law – but this protest descended into criminality and those involved have now been brought to justice.

“The disorder on that night shocked many in the local community and it is important that residents are assured that behaviour like this will meet with the full force of the law.”

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