Bulgaria transfers British football fan to serve out 10-year sentence at home
November 23, 2006 7:33pm CST
Bulgaria is to transfer a British Liverpool fan jailed for 10 years for attempted murder in Bulgaria to serve out the rest of his sentence in a British prison. "Today (Thursday) at 18:30 pm (1630 GMT) with a flight from Varna to Gatwick airport, Britain, will be performed the transfer of Michael Shields, who was sentenced in Bulgaria for attempted murder," Varna regional court press official Elena Bangieva said in a statement Thursday. Shields, 20, was sentenced on July 26, 2005 to 15 years in prison in Bulgaria for the attempted murder of Bulgarian bartender Martin Georgiev in the Black Sea resort of Golden Sands on May 29, days after Liverpool won the Champions League by defeating AC Milan in the final in Istanbul. Georgiev, 25, suffered severe head injuries and nearly died while trying to end up a drunken street brawl near his workplace. Shields, who was involved in the fight, reportedly hit the bartender on the head with a four-kilogram (nine-pound) cobblestone. After Shields was convicted, another Briton, the then 20-year-old Graham Sankey, reportedly confessed to the attack in Liverpool but still said he would not come to Bulgaria to testify. In April, after taking into account the fact that the murder was only "attempted" as well as "the age of the defendant and his clean past criminal record," the Supreme Court of Appeal reduced Shields' sentence to 10 years. Shields demanded to serve his term in a British jail and the transfer procedure was finally completed in October as his family paid the 200,000-leva (102,000-euro) fine together with the accumulated interest of 50,000 leva (25,600 euros). "The agreement for performing Shields' transfer was signed by the Bulgarian Chief Prosecutor and the respective British authorities" and he can now leave the country, Bangieva said.