Football fan who lied so he could go to Euro 2012 jailed

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A football fan banned from travelling abroad to matches who went to watch England in the Ukraine during Euro 2012 has been jailed for five months.

Manchester United supporter Pele Duncan told police he was visiting his girlfriend’s seriously ill father in Germany and was given back his passport so he could fly to Berlin.

'Deception': Pele Duncan

'Deception': Pele Duncan

But the 26-year-old was filmed partying with England fans in Kiev during the European Championships and in the Olympic Stadium during a match against Italy.

Earlier this month, Duncan, of Liverpool Old Road, Much Hoole, near Preston, admitted failing to comply with his order between June 15 and June 25 and failing to hand in his passport before August 8.

He claimed he had only gone to the Ukraine following a disagreement with his girlfriend’s mother in Germany.

But at a sentencing hearing at Preston Magistrates’ Court yesterday, Duncan admitted his entire defence was a lie and that his girlfriend’s father had not even been sick.

James Towey, defending, said Duncan had been jealous of his friends who were travelling to the tournament.

He said: “I think it is to this defendant’s credit that he has finally come out with the truth.

“When he was originally arrested that is where this story came from. He thought it would never be heard outside the four police station walls.

“It was nothing other than feeling envious of his friends - they are not subject to banning orders - and feeling at that stage ‘I want to go’.”

The dad-of-one was originally handed a football banning order in November 2010 after he was thrown out of Old Trafford for drinking alcohol in sight of the pitch.

Under the terms he must give his passport to the police whenever Manchester United or England play abroad.

Mr Towey said his client had suffered the “embarrassment and social stigma” of the story being “plastered” across the media and asked for a suspended sentence with an unpaid work requirement.

Duncan, who also has links to Preston North End and was previously given a 12-month conditional discharge for breaching his order in March last year, also spoke in court.

He said: “I just need to say I really apologise. I know what I’ve done and I do regret it.

“I’ve been stupid and put people in positions they didn’t need to be in.”

But magistrates said Duncan must face jail after “fabricating the cover story”.

Sentencing him to five months in prison in total, magistrate Barbara Bennett said: “This was a blatant disregard of court orders. It was undoubtedly planned well in advance, ie, premeditated.

“Your deception, until today, has involved other authorities in the UK and even giving a false name to the Ukraine police.

“This magistrates’ court will not tolerate the abuse of the court order. This is a keystone of British justice and it must be seen as sacrosanct.”

Duncan was also handed a new three-year banning order.