Brother of tragic Leeds United fan has football banning order lifted

Andrew Loftus, left, the brother of Christopher, right, who was killed in Turkey while following Leeds United in 2000, has had a ban lifted preventing him from attending football matches.
Andrew Loftus, left, the brother of Christopher, right, who was killed in Turkey while following Leeds United in 2000, has had a ban lifted preventing him from attending football matches.
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A LEEDS United fan whose brother was stabbed to death before a game in Turkey has been given permission to attend the club's matches after having a football banning order revoked.

Andrew Loftus, 46, was jailed for 12 months in September 2013 after a court heard he punched a Tottenham Hotspur fan unconscious during a clash between rival supporters.

He was among nine men sent to prison over the incident which happened on January 27, 2013, after Leeds United played Spurs in the fourth round of the FA Cup at Elland Road.

Mr Loftus was also made the subject of a six-year football banning order at the time of the sentence

Mr Loftus’s brother, Christopher, was aged 35 when he and fellow Leeds fan Kevin Speight, 40, were fatally stabbed on the eve of Leeds’s Uefa Cup semi-final tie against Galatasaray on April 5, 2000.

The banning order prevented Mr Loftus from entering any football match in the top five tiers of English and Welsh football.

It also ordered barred him from being in the vicinity of Elland Road or Leeds railway station before or after Leeds United home games.

He was also prohibited from going near to stadiums where Leeds United were playing away from home.

The order also imposed restrictions on going near stadiums when the England national team were playing.

The banning order was revoked after a brief hearing at Leeds Crown Court.

Mr Loftus's lawyer said his client had not been in trouble since his sentencing back in 2013.

West Yorkshire Police did not oppose the application.

The order was revoked by the Recorder of Leeds, judge Peter Collier QC.

At Mr Loftus's sentencing for affray in 2013, the court was shown CCTV footage showing the injured man lying motionless in the road outside Yates’ Wine Lodge, on Boar Lane, after he was struck.

Judge Geoffrey Marson, QC, said: “What occurred on January 27 was mindless violence in the centre of this city in the early evening.

“It will not be tolerated and the message has to be understood that those who engage in conduct of this type will receive an immediate custodial sentence.”

Mr Loftus’s barrister, Richard Wright, QC, had urged the judge to impose a suspended sentence on his client.

He said Mr Loftus, of Stoney Rock Grove, Burmantofts, Leeds, had never faced up to the emotions of losing his brother until recently when he had been helped by a charity which supports those who have lost loved ones to murder.

The barrister added that Mr Loftus had done an “enormous amount” of work for charity, including helping to raise £130,000 for a children’s play centre at Leeds General Infirmary.

Jailing him, the judge said: “Of all the mitigations that I have heard, yours was clearly and for obvious reasons the most moving.

“You lost your brother to a murder in a football incident in Istanbul.

“That, if anything, ought to have given you the incentive to avoid as best you could anything approaching violence.”

The judge added: “You struck a man with such force that he was knocked unconscious to the ground and he lay motionless for some time. You could have killed him.

“The level of violence is such that I cannot pass over it.”