Skip to content

Coronavirus (COVID-19): the policing response and what you need to know

Jail term for man convicted of riot offence

A 36-year-old man has been jailed for four-and-a-half years after admitting a charge of riot relating to the violence in Bristol city centre on Sunday 21 March.

Ryan Dwyer, who was arrested on a warrant at Belfast Harbour by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), last month, was jailed at a hearing in Bristol Crown Court today (Wednesday 13 October).

In addition to the sentence for the riot charge, Dwyer, of no fixed address, (pictured below) was also sentenced to an additional seven days for failing to appear at court, to run concurrently with the four-and-a-half year sentence.

Ryan Dwyer

The court heard his role in the riot included verbally threatening and abusing officers, as well as throwing a beer can over an officer. He also pushed and kicked officers’ shields and kicked and smashed the windows of Bridewell Police Station.

Judge James Patrick said Bristolians accepted the right for people to protest lawfully and peacefully but went onto condemn the abuse directed at police officers during the riot.

He said: “The police were subjected to vile abuse, and were attacked. Some were dragged away from their colleagues…and kicked and punched. It was fortunate they were not more seriously hurt.

“They (the police) are all human beings; they are public servants and what you did was to dehumanise them.”

Det Supt James Riccio added: “Ryan Dwyer committed significant offences during the riot including violence and vile abuse against our officers. He failed to appear at court at a previous hearing and was detained by our PSNI colleagues in Belfast and brought back to Bristol to face justice.

“He’s admitted the offence against him due to the overwhelming evidence, including CCTV and visual footage.

“Our investigation is very much ongoing and we’re working hard to ensure all those involved in the terrible events of that night face the consequences of their actions.”

Four other people also appeared at Bristol Crown Court on a charge of riot and entered not guilty pleas. Trials will be held in the summer of 2022.

They are:

• Rose Lazarus, 20, of Hotwells, Bristol – entered a not guilty plea with a trial to be held on 14 July 2022.
• Leah Brenchley, 20, of Fishponds, Bristol – entered a not guilty plea with no trial date set as yet.
• Sidney Barnes, 21, of Bishopston, Bristol – entered a not guilty plea with a trial to be held on 25 July 2022.
• Miles Walters, 26, of Redland, Bristol – entered a not guilty plea with a trial to be held on 11 July 2022.

Another person, Debra Wright, 42, of no fixed address, has been charged with assaulting an emergency worker during the incident on 21 March. She was due to appear at Bristol Crown Court on Monday (October 11), but the hearing was adjourned until Tuesday 26 October.