Dooley’s grandson ‘among Owls fans in violence against police’

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THE grandson of Sheffield football legend Derek Dooley was part of a group of Owls fans “hell bent on violence against the police” when the team was relegated last year, a court heard this week.

The 22-year-old – also called Derek Dooley – was caught on police cameras raising a large stone above his head and smashing it on to the tram tracks in Middlewood Road, Hillsborough.

Sheffield Magistrates’ Court was told another Owls fan then picked up half of the stone and launched it at police officers in riot gear who were trying to contain a group of up to 150 supporters on the rampage after their club’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace last May.

Dooley, of Meadowhead Road, Meadowhead, had earlier taken part in a pitch invasion at Hillsborough Stadium, in which fans from the two sides brawled on the turf and hurled abuse at one another.

The court saw CCTV footage of Dooley holding the rock, his face partly covered with a scarf – which the prosecution say was intended to conceal his identity.

Dooley, who denies threatening behaviour, said smashing the rock was a “wrong decision” and a “stupid mistake” but he had no intention of throwing it or causing damage with it.

Nigel Duckworth, prosecuting, said fighting broke out on the pitch between rival groups of supporters after the final whistle blew and the Owls were relegated to League One.

“Mr Dooley wasn’t involved in the fighting itself but he voluntarily went on to the pitch,” he said.

Mr Duckworth said cameras then caught Dooley at around 3.30pm on Middlewood Road.

“The defendant has masked his face,” he said. “He picks up a rock and holds it for a short time, then throws that rock on to the tram tracks. It breaks and somebody else comes along, picks up part of the rock and throws that at the police.”

Mr Duckworth said “a large piece” of stone was spotted landing around a foot away from a police dog and its handler shortly afterwards.

The prosecution alleged Dooley was “part of a group that was hell bent on violence against the police”.

Dooley, who has no previous convictions, was also filmed outside the Legends bar on Langsett Road with the same group he had been with previously on Middlewood Road.

In police interview he accepted going on to the pitch and said he had been drinking before the match.

Dooley, who hopes to go into football coaching after recently finishing a college course, said he had been “upset and devastated” about the relegation but “would not have had any thought” of throwing the rock or causing damage.

Dooley’s grandfather, who died in 2008, was a prolific goalscorer for the Owls in the early 1950s, scoring 63 goals in 63 league and cup appearances.

The trial was adjourned until Monday.