Leeds United 'fan' squeezed female steward's throat after rare Premier League win

The steward was assaulted following the match at Elland Road last year
-Credit: (Image: Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)


A York man has been handed a football banning order after assaulting a female steward following the Leeds United v Nottingham Forest match at Elland Road last year.

The match - where The Whites would seal a crucial 2-1 win over Forest, only to be relegated a month later - took place on April 4, 2023. Police were called after a man in the South Stand, later identified as Carl O'Brien, 51, of Lea Way, York, attacked a female steward. O'Brien put his hand around the steward's throat and squeezed while fans were leaving the stadium at the end of the game.

After, the victim was left with minor injuries and she was able to point out the man out at the ground leading to his arrest. He was charged with an offence of intentional strangulation and appeared before Leeds Magistrates Court on April 9.

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At a hearing at Leeds Crown Court on May 29, 2024, O'Brien was handed a 20 month suspended prison sentence, ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work and given a £187 fine. He was also given a three-year Football Banning Order.

Speaking after the sentencing, Chief Superintendent Russell Hughes, said: "Violence of any kind against match stewards is absolutely not tolerated and as a result of his actions, O’Brien has now been banned from attending any football fixture.

"He subjected his victim to what was a distressing and frightening experience and was swiftly arrested by officers at the ground after she was able to identify him.

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"West Yorkshire Police will always treat incidents like this very seriously. We work closely with Leeds United and visiting clubs to fully investigate any offences committed and we will also take robust action against those responsible, including seeking Football Banning Orders against them.

"People who engage in such behaviour have no place football grounds in West Yorkshire or anywhere else in the country."