Birmingham fan admits attacking Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish on the pitch
A Birmingham City fan who launched an on-field attack on Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish has pleaded guilty to assault.
Paul Mitchell was wrestled off the playing surface by stewards after punching Grealish around the head in the ninth minute of Sunday’s Birmingham derby.
Pub worker Mitchell also admitted a charge of invading the pitch after magistrates rejected an application for his address to be withheld.
He appeared at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court on Monday, after being remanded in custody overnight.
Prosecutor Jonathan Purser told the court that Mr Grealish felt lasting pain after the incident but had suffered no substantial injury from a punch to the right side of his jaw.
In a statement read into the court record by Mr Purser, the Aston Villa captain said: “I cannot help but feel how lucky I was in this incident.
“It could have so much worse had the supporter had some sort of weapon.”
His solicitor Vaughn Whistance told the court: “He cannot explain what came over him yesterday morning. His initial foolish intention was to just go onto the pitch and whip up the crowd.”
Earlier, Mitchell’s lawyer said his family had had to leave their home due to threats following his arrest after the “high-profile” incident.
Making an application for the court to withhold Mitchell’s home address, Mr Whistance, told the court: “There have been various comments posted on different social media
“My client’s young family have had to leave their home address to move to outside of Birmingham through fear that they would suffer serious harm or even death.”
Magistrates have ordered a pre-sentence report on Mitchell and will pass sentence after 2pm on Monday.