Park footballer jailed after driving Range Rover at referee

A Sunday league footballer who drove his car onto the pitch and attempted to run over the referee after being given a red card has been jailed for 24 weeks. Joseph Rimmer, 28, believed he had been fouled 60 minutes into a Sunday league game in Southport, near Liverpool, but referee David Harkness waved play on. "The defendant then showed dissent by swearing at the referee, who awarded a free kick against him," prosecuting barrister Derek Jones told Liverpool Crown Court.

The abuse continued until Mr Harkness reached for his cards. Rimmer, a fitness instructor and nightclub doorman, told him: "If you book me or send me off, you know what will happen." Mr Jones continued: "Before he could be shown the red card, the defendant stated, 'I'm going to run you down', then walked off the pitch." He then climbed into his Range Rover and drove at the referee.

The court heard that Rimmer drove in circles while other players reacted with "panic and fear". When he came to a stop, he got out of the car and made a gun shape with his hand, shouting towards Mr Harkness: "I'm going to shoot you."

Mr Harkness said the incident, in February this year, left him unable to continue refereeing. Rimmer was jailed for affray and given a 12-month driving ban.

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