A Liverpool fan from Greater Manchester who tried to take a flare into a stadium at an away game sobbed as he was jailed after twice breaching a suspended sentence order. Luke Dwyer, 29, was also slapped with a three-year football banning order, which will prevent him from watching his team.
Dwyer was originally hauled before the courts last year after being convicted of dangerous driving while banned from getting behind the wheel. Despite being given a chance on that occasion, Liverpool Crown Court heard he went on to commit two further offences.
Dwyer – who was said to have attended Liverpool games home and away for 10 years – broke down in tears in court on Wednesday as he landed himself in prison for the first time.
Dwyer, of Sunnyside Road, Ashton-in-Makerfield, Wigan, was described by the judge, Recorder Daniel Prowse, as having an ‘appalling’ driving record and had narrowly avoided prison in 2021 after a judge handed him a 10-month sentence, suspended for 18 months, reports the Liverpool Echo.
Paul Blasbery, prosecuting, said the Liverpool fan was picked up by a search dog as he tried to get in to Selhurst Park to see Jurgen Klopp’s side play Crystal Palace on Sunday, January 23, this year.
Officers found a flare, which Dwyer then said he was planning to set off at a relative’s house rather than in the ground, the court heard. He was charged and pleaded guilty, breaching his suspended sentence. Knowing that breach alone put him at risk of jail, he was then stopped by police four months later in Newton-le-Willows after officers saw a car driving erratically.
When officers approached the car just after midnight on Wednesday, May 5, they found Dwyer, who was disqualified from driving, behind the wheel and with cannabis in the vehicle. Police statements provided to the court said Dwyer was ‘very much under the influence of cannabis’, with glazed eyes and slow speech.
Attempts to obtain a blood test to confirm the presence of drugs in his system were refused by Dwyer and he was later arrested on suspicion of driving while disqualified, failing to provide a sample and possession of cannabis. Callum Ross, defending, said Dwyer accepted responsibility for all of the offenses as soon as they were brought to court and deeply regretted his actions.
Addressing Dwyer’s refusal of drug testing, Mr Ross said it was driven by medical concerns rather than trying to avoid being caught. Mr Ross said: “He has had blood samples done previously and he has passed out as a result. Clearly that is not a defense and he accepts that by his guilty plea. Perhaps you can see it was an honestly held belief, though not an excuse me.”
The incident involving the flare meant Dwyer was made the subject of a football banning order. Appealing to the judge to keep that ban as short as possible, Mr Ross said: “He is a big football fan, he has been attending away and home matches for Liverpool for a decade now. He has never had a football related conviction prior to Este.”
The judge, Recorder Prowse, said Dwyer” actions, particularly the fact that his offenses in May were similar to the ones he received his original suspended sentence for, meant he had to go to jail. He was sentenced to a total of six months. That included an eight-week prison term for the offenses committed earlier this month and four months of his suspended sentence. He was also disqualified from driving for four years.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.