Paul Mitchell has pleaded guilty to assault
Paul Mitchell, 27, has pleaded guilty to assault after invading the pitch and punching Jack Grealish during Sunday’s second city derby at St. Andrews.
Further details of the incident were heard at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court on Monday morning, which included Mitchell claiming he was not intoxicated and that he told the officer who escorted him off the pitch that ‘Grealish is a nob’.
Solicitor Jonathan Purser, who was prosecuting Mitchell, said: “Jack Grealish felt a push in the back and a hook to his lower jaw. He had just won a corner and had his back to stand containing Birmingham City supporters.
“The TV footage had captured the defendant running onto the football pitch, Mr Grealish with back to him and had name on back of his shirt.
“Footage shows him taking a running swing, jumping on the back of Grealish and launching that punch.”
”The officer who was carrying Mitchell off the pitch said Mitchell thought Mr Grealish was a nob,” continued the prosecutor.
”Mitchell claims he was not intoxicated and was with his father and did it as a joke. He did say he was remorseful.”
Reading out a statement released on behalf of the Aston Villa player, Purser said: “Jack Grealish was shocked and scared because if this person was brazen enough to get onto the pitch, what else could he do?
”He didn’t know person who assaulted him and didn’t antagonise Birmingham City supporters. It could have been worse had the person had a weapon. It was an unprovoked assault on someone doing his work. There was pain, discomfort and shock.”
Defence solicitor Vaughan Whistance confirmed that Mitchell has apologised to both Aston Villa and Jack Grealish.
Mitchell, from Rubery, south Birmingham, is unemployed and was previously a manager of an unnamed pub.
Whistance, defending, said: “It has brought shame upon his family and the club he has supported as a child. A season ticket for over 20 years. This is a high profile case, captured on national television.
“My client’s young family have had to leave their home and move out of Birmingham in fear of serious harm or death.”
“It has brought shame upon his family and the club he has supported as a child. A season ticket for over 20 years. He has apologised to Aston Villa and of course to Jack Grealish.”
He also told the court that the incident was ‘totally out of character’.
“This was totally out of character,” Whistance added. “He cannot explain what came over himself yesterday morning. His initial foolish intention to go onto the pitch to whip up the crowd.
“He is certainly remorseful today. He is a man with a partner, they have a two-year-old together and they’re expecting their second child.”
Paul Mitchell has been returned to a cell and will be sentenced this afternoon. He has been banned for life by Birmingham City Football Club.
Updates to follow.