Six years for Hells Angel in airport brawl

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The Independent Online

A Hells Angel who fled to South Africa after being convicted of taking part in a terrifying airport brawl was beginning a six-year jail sentence today.

Mark Larner, who was also ordered to serve a further three months in custody for skipping bail, was found guilty of riot at Birmingham Crown Court in May.

But the 47-year-old, formerly of Upper Gornal, near Dudley, then fled to South Africa while on bail, spending two months in the country before using his own passport to sneak back into Britain.

Larner, who voluntarily surrendered himself to police in Bristol earlier this month, was among eight men found guilty of rioting at Birmingham International Airport in January last year.



The Hells Angel failed to appear for sentencing alongside the seven other bikers in June and was said to have gone to South Africa with "a suitcase full of money".

His counsel, Toby Coupe, told Judge Patrick Thomas, QC, that the biker had returned from South Africa by flying to Frankfurt via Namibia and then catching a train to St Pancras.



But despite his passport being scanned three times, he was not picked up by the authorities and rented a property in Bristol for a further two months.



"He did go to South Africa with the intention of evading custody, but having got to South Africa he quickly realised that he could not properly sustain a life on the run, so he decided to come back," Mr Coupe told today's hearing.



Passing a consecutive three-month sentence on Larner for breaching his bail, Judge Thomas said Larner may have received a lesser sentence for riot if he had not absconded.



The judge, who was informed that Larner had experienced severe health problems, said the court could not condone his decision to flee the country.



Three other members of the Hell's Angels and four members of the Outlaws motorcycle gang were convicted following the disorder, which broke in a passenger terminal at the airport.



Larner's co-defendants were each jailed for six years for their roles in the clashes, which saw one biker suffer a near-fatal head injury.