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Men fined total of more than £2k after assaults at Arena boxing match that left one man with a serious hearing impairment.

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Two men who attacked a boxing fan and his girlfriend in a row over seats at Manchester Arena have been fined and handed suspended sentences.

Daniel O’Malley, aged 27, of Holme Lane, Bradford pleaded guilty to two counts of section 39 assault at Manchester and Salford Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, 6 December, after punching the victim and his partner in the face. Andrew Mark Stather, aged 30, of Dane Hill Drive, Bradford pleaded guilty to one count.

The court heard how on Saturday, 10 December last year, the pair had travelled up to Manchester with their partners to watch the Anthony Joshua boxing match at the Arena.
Having spent the day in the city the four took seats at the Arena, with O’Malley and his partner taking their allotted seats and Stather and his partner sitting next to them, despite their seats being five rows back.
When the victims, a couple, came to take their seats next to O’Malley they asked Stather and his partner to move, which they eventually did.

But when the couple returned from a trip to the bar later in the evening they found Stather and his partner had again taken their seats. After moving again O’Malley’s partner became abusive to the couple, complaining that they had moved their friends.

When the couple returned to their seats a second time, O’Malley hit the woman in the face, before punching her boyfriend when he stepped in to protect her.

Stather then also approached the victim and both men repeatedly punched him until he fell to the floor and down a flight of stairs.

Investigating officer DS Mark Haviland said: “This was a  horrendous attack on a  couple who had simply planned on enjoying a night out together but found themselves being outnumbered and bullied out of their pre-booked seats. Violence is never acceptable and as demonstrated by the fines handed out is taken seriously by the courts. Huge numbers attended this event and the majority of fans managed to behave and enjoy themselves in a civilised manner but O’Malley and Stather, fuelled by drink, became aggressive and violent.
“As a result of their actions the male victim lost 80 per cent of his hearing in one ear and suffered facial injuries.”

Both men were sentenced to 20 weeks in jail suspended for 12 months. O’Malley was fined a total of £970 and Stather £1,085.

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