Teacher organised soccer violence

14th May 2004 at 01:00
A teacher has been jailed for more than two years for masterminding a network of violent English football hooligans.

History teacher David Walker, 37, was sentenced last week after being exposed as a "bedroom general" who used the internet and mobile phones to arrange bloody street battles between rival fans.

Mr Walker had been head of Year 11 at Turves Green technology college in Birmingham and part of the boys' school's senior management team.

Police discovered that the married father had co-ordinated fights between hooligans on his home computer using the nickname "Three Lions".

The clashes that he organised included a pitched battle between bottle-throwing Charlton and Southampton fans at Maze Hill railway station in south London, which terrified passers-by and left three people in hospital.

Detective Inspector Karl Skyrzypiec, who led the investigation, said the teacher was a "key organiser of violence across the country".

Mr Walker was sentenced to two years and three months in prison for conspiracy to commit violent disorder.

Kingston Crown Court heard that he had initially denied involvement in hooliganism when police found books on football violence in his home, telling them: "I'm a teacher with a wife and kids. This is not my scene."

Mr Walker submitted statements to the court from his GCSE pupils in which they praised his work.

One letter, signed by 24 students, said: "He is a great teacher who always helps - he is more like a friend."

Walker was also praised by Ken Nimmo, his headteacher, who described him as "an outstanding teacher who contributed a huge amount to the many successes of the boys here.

"He was conscientious and hard-working with an exemplary record. I was very saddened to hear of the offence, which was not related in any way to school."

Governors at Turves Green were due to meet this week to discuss whether Mr Walker should be sacked, but the meeting was cancelled after the school received his letter of resignation on Monday.

Birmingham Council said the decision about whether he would return to teaching would be made by England's General Teaching Council.

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