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“Drunk” stroke victim cleared of charges at Bristol Rovers

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

A Tranmere Rovers fan has been acquitted of being drunk at a game after police misread his stroke symptoms. Steve Renton was thrown out of Bristol Rovers’ Memorial Stadium back in March during his team’s goalless draw. He was charged by police and ordered to attend trial at Bristol Magistrates Court.

During the two-day hearing Magistrates heard that Renton, of Birkenhead, had in fact been the victim of a stroke two years ago which left him with slurred speech and difficulty staying on his feet.

He had been forced to travel to Bristol on five separate occasions at a cost of more than £400 and is now applying to have his travel and defence costs repaid by the state following the failed prosecution.

“It’s a big weight off my shoulders,” said Mr Renton. “I could have faced a football banning order if found guilty and I’ve never been in trouble with the police before.”

The prosecution alleged he had downed six cans of Carlsberg, stank of booze and was behaving in an erratic manner. But his defending solicitor produced a doctor’s note confirming his patient had suffered a stroke in June 2008.

Renton initially came to the police’s attention at the game after intervening in an argument between two Tranmere Rovers fans, apparently over a girl.

“There is no doubt you stank of alcohol but if you had a drink now in this room you would smell. In that football ground these police officers genuinely felt you were drunk but we have the benefit of your medical report,” said Magistrate Robert Jennings. “This would never have happened if you hadn’t stuck your nose into other business.”

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