Football fan guilty of punching police officer in face

Hughes had been attending the match between West Ham and QPR

Hughes had been attending the match between West Ham and QPR

A football fan has been convicted of punching a female police officer in the face as she tried to arrest him.

QPR supporter Jack Hughes, 21, was found guilty of assaulting Pc Katie Vallance following a “scuffle” with West Ham fans after the two teams played each other on October 5.

The police officer had been standing on the corner of Green Street and Tudor Road as part of a post-match patrol when she saw Hughes “walking purposefully” towards a group of West Ham supporters, Stratford Magistrates’ Court heard yesterday.

When a scuffle broke out, she pushed her way through to apprehend Hughes, who tried to push her away.

Although she managed to remove him from the crowd, he then punched her in the jaw.

“He was telling me to ‘f*** off’ and saying ‘f*** you’,” she said. “It was a very busy area at the time.

“In that instant I honestly thought that Mr Hughes would go on and assault me further.”

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Giving evidence in his defence, Hughes, of Woodfield Road, Maida Vale, said that he had never hit a woman in his life.

He admitted swearing once, claiming he said “Can you release these f***ing handcuffs?” but only “after five times of asking them to loosen it”.

Hughes said that he did not realise Pc Vallance was trying to arrest him and that he thought he was under attack. “They [the West Ham fans] were saying ‘f*** off back to West London’ because my uncle had QPR colours on,” he said.”

Hughes also claimed he was knocked to the ground and when he tried to get up “someone was on my back and I was just trying to shrug them off”.

Deputy District Judge Louise Balmain found Hughes guilty of assaulting a police officer and of using language likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

”I can’t see why the officer would lie about it,” she said. “She’s an experienced officer and she doesn’t know you.”

Hughes will be sentenced in the same court on March 25.