[T]WO men who plotted to bring violence to Appleby’s historic horse fair have each been jailed for three years.
Carlisle Crown Court heard how Alan Reynolds Cheyanne Tunney and James McPhee goaded each other in a series of abusive online videos uploaded on YouTube.
Tunney, 33, and 43-year-old McPhee arranged to meet for a bare knuckle bout at Europe’s largest travellers’ gathering – which attracts tens of thousands of visitors – in June last year. But their face-off bid was foiled after Cumbria police intercepted the two men.
Tunney was detained by officers on the A66 at the head of a 15-vehicle Appleby-bound convoy, and organised the bringing of knives. Earlier the same day McPhee and his supporters, some wearing balaclavas, had gathered on the fair hill.
Tunney, of Stockbridge Lane, Bentley, Doncaster, and McPhee, of Shaws Road, Larkhall, South Lanarkshire, were sentenced at the crown court today (MON). Each had admitted conspiring to commit violent disorder.
Judge Peter Davies jailed both men, and banned them from Appleby fair for a decade. “There were enough people here to have a battle with the promise of serious injury,” said Judge Davies.
“Both groups were determined to exact considerable violence.”
Detective Constable Ian Chappell, North Cumbria CID said: “These two men were clearly planning on causing violent disorder on a large-scale, giving no thought to the many families that attend the Appleby Horse Fair every year.
“The diligent enquiries of the Constabulary intelligence bureau enabled a quick response by operational officers, who were able to identify the rival groups and disperse them from the area in a safe and timely manner, ensuring the safety of those at the fair and the wider local community.
“North Cumbria CID liaised with numerous Constabularies across Northern England and Police Scotland, leading to the arrests of Mr Tunney and Mr McPhee. Both males were uncooperative during the investigation and have shown no remorse for their actions.”
Stuart Pattinson, Senior Crown Prosecutor at CPS North West, said: “Alan Tunney and James McPhee admitted conspiring to commit violent disorder at the annual Appleby Horse Fair last year. Both were today sentenced to three years imprisonment each.
“The conspiracy involved a pre-arranged fight in the context of an on-going feud between rival families. The defendants were well aware that the meeting would result in serious violence which not only put the participants at risk of injury, but also members of the public who were visiting Appleby to enjoy the historic annual event.
“We worked closely with the police from the outset to build the strongest possible case against both defendants, which left them with no other option but to plead guilty.”