Father speaks of terror following massive fracas’ in city centre club

The Jam House
queen Street
Edinburgh
The Jam House queen Street Edinburgh
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A DAD has described how he had to shelter in a stairwell with his young son after being caught up in a “massive fracas” during a mixed martial arts event on Sunday.

Dean Reilly was attending the MMA event at the Jam House with his nine-year-old son when a brawl broke out between rival spectators.

Around a dozen police cars were called to the Queen Street venue and the road had to be temporarily closed while the incident was brought under control.

Mr Reilly, 36, said the fighting appeared to have started when spectators in an upstairs VIP section started to throw glass bottles into an area lower down.

He said: “It was a very aggressive and horrible atmosphere.

“The supporters that were there were incredibly drunk and there was minimal-to-no stewarding.

“There were lots of kids there. I managed to get my son into a stairwell so he didn’t see too much of it.

“The other children were terrified. One of them was in tears, clinging on to his dad for dear life.”

Mr Reilly, a keen boxing fan, said he had been to numerous sporting fixtures all over the country but had “never seen anything like that”.

The 2016 Evening News Local Hero award winner added: “I was trying to introduce my son to a sport that if done properly can promote good health and fitness.

“He’s gone from being so chuffed to be taken to an event like that to embarrassed to go into school and talk about it.

“It damages the sport because the next person who comes along will be tarred with the same brush and won’t be allowed to put [a show] on.

“I feel sorry for the organisers because you can’t help idiots but it could have been avoided.”

The event was organised by Forza Fighting Championship but came to a sudden halt after the fighting broke out.

Jodie Chiappa, manager of the Jam House, said: “Forza Fighting Championship hosted a well organised and well attended event.

“Unfortunately the exemplary behaviour of the participants and the vast majority of customers was undermined by the actions of a small number of those in attendance. Thanks to a swift response from the event’s suitable security presence, both on the ground and in contacting the police, the disturbance was quickly brought under control.

“We are working with the local authorities to ensure those responsible are identified and held to account.”

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Police attended at the Jam House on Queen Street at around 6pm on Sunday following reports of a disturbance during a sporting event that took place within the venue.

“Police ensured the safe dispersal of patrons from the premises and provided appropriate advice to management in relation to future events. An investigation into the full set of circumstances is ongoing.”

The force were on site for around 30 minutes and said it was not yet clear how many people had been involved.

They added one man sustained a minor head injury and that no arrests had yet been made.

No-one at Forza was available for comment.

florence.snead@jpress.co.uk