A TEENAGER has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years behind bars for his part in a street disturbance on the night that Sean Whyte was killed.

Hasan Mumtaz, 18, of North Street, Colne was found guilty of wounding and violent disorder three weeks ago at Preston Crown Court.

He was cleared of the murder of Sean Whyte, who was fatally stabbed during later fighting further up the street in Colne.

Judge Peter Openshaw said Hasan had not been involved in starting the fighting, which had originally broken out when a chance meeting between his brother Wasim and Michael Stewart, Sean Whyte's sister's partner, had turned into a scuffle.

Both parties called for reinforcements and a crowd assembled on the streets shouting racial abuse on both sides.

Hasan had been inside his home when he heard shouts from his brother, who was under attack, and went outside with a pair of scissors he was using at the time.

He used them to stab Agnes Rennie, a member of the Whyte family, in the head, arm and shoulder.

Judge Openshaw said: "He took up a pair of heavy duty scissors. I don't think for one moment he did so unconsciously or unthinkingly as he maintained. I'm sure he took them outside as a weapon, to use as and when the need arose."

The judge added that there was "a great deal of evidence that Agnes Rennie was shouting racial abuse and support for her faction".

He said: "I accept that this incident was not started by Hasan. His involvement was brought about entirely by the hot temper and foolishness of others."

The judge said: "There was a large-scale public disorder, many people were frightened and by participating as he did the defendant contributed to this disorder."

He said he did not think Hasan presented a high risk of re-offending.

Stephen Riordon QC, defending Hasan, said he had already spent eight months in custody with the worry of a murder charge hanging over him, but had used the time to get qualifications.

Wasim Mumtaz was cleared of violent disorder following the incident.

Speaking after the case, Det Insp Tony Harling, who led the investigation into Sean Whyte's murder, said: "Hasan Mumtaz was cleared of the charge of murder by a jury. This sentence may give Sean's family some comfort that somebody has been brought to justice for their part in the violence during which he died."