Thursday, March 12, 2009

Celtic fan faces jail for armed robbery

Dec 6 2008 By Paul O'Hare

A CELTIC fan who plunged from the top tier of a stand during an Old Firm game is facing a lengthy jail term for a spate of armed robberies.

Alexander Rafferty, 42, admitted raiding five bookmakers in Glasgow, brandihing a claw hammer and a knife.

The thug, who has previous convictions for dishonesty and public disorder, was nailed by DNA left at the crime scenes.

Rafferty hit the headlines in May 1999 when he tumbled from the top tier of the Jock Stein Stand at Celtic Park.

Medics were amazed to find the dad-of-one was unhurt after the 40ft fall - apart from a broken nose.

On Tuesday, the High Court in Glasgow heard Rafferty targeted five bookmakers during a 16- day crime spree.

The pipe layer, of Cupar, Fife, admitted the raids which left staff traumatised.

The court heard that in two of the bookies, he smashed through security screens using the hammer.

Rafferty admitted robbing Ladbrokes in Queen Street, Glasgow, of £380 on May 2 this year.

On May 9, he raided William Hill's in Argyle Street, threatened to stab the cleaner with a knife and made off with £635.

Then on May 17, he attempted to rob Tote Bookmakers in Cambridge Street and William Hill's in Gordon Street, before raiding Ladbrokes in Union Street, all Glasgow, and making off with cash.

Judge Lord Hodge told Rafferty he was calling for background reports and an assessment of the risk he poses to the public.

Sentence was deferred until January at the High Court in Edinburgh and Rafferty was remanded in custody.

After his fall from the stand, Rafferty - known as Aco - achieved cult status among Celtic fans Some had the legend "Aco Cannae Fly" printed on their Hoops tops.

Rafferty claimed he left his seat to buy a pie but somehow tripped over his feet and tumbled over the barrier.

Millions of TV viewers saw him waving from his stretcher seconds after Rangers took a two-goal lead.

Speaking at the time, Rafferty said: "The first thing the medical people asked me was, 'Anything broken?' But I just said, 'Only my heart.'"

Rafferty was later banned for life by security bosses.

A source said: "Aco was always a bit of a headbanger. He was blind drunk when he fell.

"The ban had no effect on him whatsoever and he still followed Celtic, home and away."
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