A MAN who punched a police horse on the nose at a Portsmouth V Southampton football match has today been jailed. 

Derek Jennings, 53, of Laburnum Grove, Portsmouth, punched police horse Luna in the lead up to the Carabao Cup match between Portsmouth Football Club and Southampton Football Club on September 24 last year.

The court heard how one of the Police Commanders noticed Jennings becoming aggressive towards police officers and Saints fans during the build-up to the game in Goldsmith Avenue.

The officer riding Luna headed towards Jennings, who punched the horse in her nose and mouth.

Daily Echo:

Luna instantly "shied" away from the attack but Jennings swung out at Luna twice more before he turned and attempted to run away.

He was then chased down the road by Luna and her rider.

The court was told that Jennings ran towards a group of officers who warned him to stop, with Luna following after him.

He was quickly arrested and taken into custody.

He was charged with violent disorder and pleaded guilty to the offence at court. 

Daily Echo:

Jennings was committed to prison for 20 months and was given a six year football banning order. 

Speaking after the hearing DCI John McGonigle said: “Sadly, as we anticipated, there was a minority of people who were intent on ruining this much-anticipated derby for everyone else and Jennings was one of those.

“This is why we ensured there was a significant policing operation around this match, alongside careful planning with both clubs, so that we could act quickly and stop any disruption.

Daily Echo:

“For a grown man to act in this way was deplorable, especially against an animal, who was simply there to help protect people who wanted to enjoy the game and get home safely.

“We hope this sentence sends a clear message that we will not tolerate this type of behaviour or any disorder at any public event. Action will be taken and those responsible will be investigated.”

As previously reported by the Daily Echo,  Luna was unharmed in the attack. 

The much-anticipated Carabao Cup game, which Saints won 4-0, saw fans clashing in the streets outside Fratton Park.

Despite riot police forming a wall to keep fans apart, some still caused chaos and disorder by hurling coins, bottles, stones and smoke grenades at each other.