Leeds United thug Aaron Cawley banned from Elland Road for life
NOTORIOUS football thug Aaron Cawley was jailed for four months after admitting assaulting ex-England goalkeeper Chris Kirkland in a televised match.
A court heard the 21-year-old, from Hester's Way, was too drunk to remember his actions in the Sheffield Wednesday versus Leeds United clash on Friday night.
The unemployed yob, who is a lifelong Leeds fan, ran onto the pitch in the 77th minute and dealt Wednesday keeper Kirkland a two-handed blow to the face.
Cawley, who appeared in court with a Leeds United tattoo visible on his neck and the club crest inked on his right arm, was said to have downed several cans of Stella Artois lager, three-quarters of a litre of vodka and a up to 10 pints of cider prior to the incident.
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As well as the 16-week jail term, he was given a six-year football banning order meaning he cannot go within one mile of stadiums where Leeds are playing on match days.
Fans, police and club officials at Leeds United welcomed the punishment.
A club spokesman said: "We are pleased to see the matter dealt with by the courts so quickly.
"The club will also ban the individual for life from Elland Road when the banning order expires. Our one disappointment is that we feel the sentence could, and should, have been considerably longer."
Cawley was tracked down and arrested in Cheltenham in a lunchtime swoop on Sunday.
His family has been in hiding ever since after it emerged they may have been subjected to death threats from enraged fans.
When the Echo called at the family home, in Hester's Way, a man, believed to be a relative of the man, shouted from the window that an apology had been sent to Kirkland.
However, bosses at Sheffield Wednesday Football Club said no such message had been received yet.
Yesterday's court appearance at Sheffield Magistrates' Court marked a swift resolution to the incident. Paul Macaulay, prosecuting, said: "Mr Kirkland described it as being hit like a ton of bricks and he went straight to the floor."
The court heard Cawley emailed South Yorkshire Police and Sky News to admit responsibility for his actions, describing himself as "a disgrace".
The professed remorse contradicted posts published on his Facebook page.
On the social networking site, Cawley said: "Just to let you no (sic) got home safe and sound just had sex, and just been for s**t." Another post said his actions were "hardly crime of the century". The page was later taken down.
Cawley's solicitor Elizabeth Anderton said his client regretted his actions.
"He has expressed a great deal of remorse," she said. "He was disgusted with his behaviour, extremely ashamed."
The court heard he has a long history of football-related offending, including when he was 16, he was banned from every ground in the country after he was identified at the centre or 200-strong riots outside Leeds' Elland Road ground.
The judge was told he had broken banning orders four times, winding up in a Young Offenders' Institution last September following a breach.
District Judge Naomi Redhouse said: "You have brought shame onto the game of football by your actions." Cawley pleaded guilty to common assault and entering the field of play. He was jailed for 16 weeks and ordered to pay £85 costs. Later, he returned to court where he was given a six-year football banning order.