Millwall fans attacked stewards after mocking Sala death with aeroplane gestures at Cardiff match

Credit: South Wales Police

A father and his sons were caught fighting with stewards at a Cardiff City game after making aeroplane gestures mocking the death of Emiliano Sala.

The court heard Millwall supporter Cory Ellis, 19, made the gestures with his arms during the game against Cardiff in August last year.Ellis was then approached by stewards who told him he would have to leave due to there being a "zero tolerance policy" for fans who make such actions. The court heard he then proceeded to argue them before his father Kevin, 60, and brother Kane, 20, threatened violence "if they didn't leave his son alone".

Emiliano Sala was killed in an aeroplane crash following his move to Cardiff in 2019

Newport Crown Court heard Kevin Ellis proceeded to punch steward, Stephen Healey, before he was set upon like "a pack" which was caught on CCTV.

A judge at Newport Crown Court said the family "inflamed fellow Millwall fans to turned on the stewards." Credit: PA Images

Prosecutor Thomas Roberts said: "It is known that to insult and antagonise supporters of Cardiff City supporters of opposition clubs have taken to making an aeroplane gesture by raising their arms like the wings of a plane. That is a reference to the tragic case of Emiliano Sala."

During the game, Cardiff took the lead and witnesses describe the atmosphere in the Millwall contingent as "changing."

When Cory Ellis was asked to leave, his father threatened violence and brother Kane Ellis also became involved and threatened to stab Mr Healey.

"A melee ensured where Robin Smith and Stephen Healey were stamped on and kicked when on the ground", Prosecutor Thomas Roberts added. "Mr Healey was punched multiple times by Kevin Ellis. He described feeling like he was 'surrounded by a pack' when he was on the floor."

Judge Daniel Williams added that brother Kane Ellis then "rushed towards trouble" and the family "inflamed fellow Millwall fans to turned on the stewards."He said: "They soon found themselves surrounded by a hostile and aggressive mob and hopelessly outnumbered of course."

"Why did they find themselves in such a situation? Because they had the temerity, as you saw it, to challenge those who taunted others over the tragic death of a young footballer."

Kevin Ellis, Kane Ellis, Cory Ellis, admitted affray along with prison officer Conor Barton,  33, Joe Down, 35,  Darren Grieveson, 47 and Mitchell Wilcox, 21.Kevin Ellis and Kane Ellis were jailed over the violence, while his son Cory and the four other fans were handed six months suspended sentences over the "hooliganism".

Kevin Ellis was jailed for 12 months and handed an eight year football banning order for "repeatedly punching a defenceless steward".Meanwhile, Kane Ellis was handed for nine months detention order and six year banning order.Judge Williams told them: "You were mindlessly assaulting me who were simply doing their job."Cory Ellis, Barton, Down, Grieveson and Mitchell Wilcox were all handed six month suspended sentences and given four year football banning orders.All were ordered to pay £500 costs and complete 180 hours unpaid work.