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Two Fryston Warriors players sentenced after off-duty police officer attacked on West Yorkshire train

February 27, 2013, 3:56 pm

Five people who attacked an off-duty West Yorkshire police officer and his family and friends on board a train travelling between Leeds and Castleford, have been sentenced to a total of five and a half years behind bars, following an investigation by British Transport Police.

Fryston Warriors Rugby league players Dale Cogan (25) from New Street in Kippax, Leeds, and Jonathan Jones (28) from Smawthonre Avenue in Castleford, and Jodie OHara (20) also from Smawthonre Avenue in Castleford, and Sean OHara (44) and Joanne OHara (45) from Lisheen Avenue, Castleford were all sentenced at Leeds Crown Court on Tuesday 25 February after being found guilty of violent disorder.

The following sentences were handed out-

  • Jonathan Jones- 33 months imprisonment for violent disorder, and 18 months for actual bodily harm (to run concurrently)
  • Dale Cogan- 22 months imprisonment, and 18 months for actual bodily harm (to run concurrently)
  • Sean O Hara- 12 months imprisonment
  • Jody O Hara- 9 months in a young offenders institute (suspended for 2 years) and 260 hours unpaid community work.
  • Joanne O Hara- 12 month community order and 160 hour unpaid community work.

The court heard how an off-duty police officer, aged 30 from Pontefract, was returning from a day out in Harrogate on Saturday, 10 March 2012, with his 63-year-old father, brother and two of his fathers friends.

Cogan, Jones and the OHaras also boarded the train at Leeds, shortly before it left the station. Cogan began marching up and down the in carriage singing rugby songs in what was described as an agitated state

He attempted to engage the victim in conversation about rugby. Jones then became involved and threatened the group with violence. The officer, and the other members of his group, tried to calm the situation down, claiming they didnt want any trouble. The victim also identified himself as an off-duty police officer.

As the officer continued to state that he was with his elderly father, and didnt want any trouble, he was hit on the back of his head by Jones, who then started to bang another member of the groups head against the train window. Cogan and Sean OHara then joined in and threw punches at other members of the group.

The officer, who continued to attempt to calm the attackers down, was then punched in the face by Jones. He felt his nose pop and began heavily bleeding, so ran to the front of the train to get help, where he was followed by Jones and Cogan. Meanwhile, Sean OHara continued to punch and assault members of the group at the other end of the carriage.

The officer crouched in a corner of the train to protect himself while Jones and Cogan continually threw punches at him, shouting threats at him throughout the onslaught. His father attempted to run up the carriage to help him but was blocked by Jodie and Joanne OHara who swore, shouted and screamed at him. He was then hit on the head from behind and was knocked to the floor.

As the train pulled in to Castleford station, the officer pleaded with the train guard to open the doors and he fled the train, his attackers chased him off the station but he managed to escape and raise the alarm.

As a result of the attack, the off-duty officer suffered a broken nose, chipped tooth and bruising and cuts to his face. The rest of the group sustained cuts, black eyes and bruising.

Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Sergeant Matt Davies, the investigating officer, said: “This was a violent and completely unprovoked attack on an-off duty officer, his brother and his elderly father and friends, who were simply returning from a day out in Harrogate. Based on the severity and intensity of the attack, which lasted for over 10 minutes, the group, who at times feared for their safety and lives, were extremely lucky that their injuries were not more severe.

“Passengers and rail staff who were travelling and working on the service were also extremely fearful for their safety, and shocked at the level of violence that they witnessed. The behaviour of this group, who admitted they were heavily under the influence of alcohol, was completely unacceptable and this has been reflected by the sentences that have been imposed by the court today.”

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