Lottery winner Michael Carroll threatened members of a Christian Fellowship group with a baseball bat during a concert in a Norfolk town hall, a court was told.

Lottery winner Michael Carroll threatened members of a Christian Fellowship group with a baseball bat during a concert in a Norfolk town hall, a court was told.

The 22-year-old had denied a charge of affray and was due to stand trial at Norwich Crown Court next week, but at a hearing today he admitted the offence.

Earlier this week, Carroll, 22, of Felbrigg Road, Downham Market, had been granted legal aid to fight the case - despite his multi-million pound fortune amassed from winning the lottery.

But his barrister told the court his client would not be going through with the claim.

Appearing with Carroll, who arrived with several friends, was David Howard, 24, of Railway Road, Downham. He was also charged with affray and changed his plea to guilty.

Two teenage girls, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded not guilty to affray, but guilty to using threatening words or behaviour.

A fifth person, Paul Howard, 19, of Lynn Road, Swaffham, admitted affray at a hearing last year and has already been sentenced.

Richard Potts, prosecuting, said the charges arose from an incident on May 30 2004, which involved a group of young people in a Christian fellowship meeting at Downham Market town hall.

The female defendants were outside with some of the members of the meeting and insults were exchanged.

“The female defendants went and recruited the two male defendants and a further defendant, who then enter the town hall, some equipped with base ball bats or similar,” said Mr Potts.

“Certainly violence is used and there are threats made to those occupying the hall.”

Carroll had claimed he did not use violence, but there were witnesses who described him with a baseball bat and holding it in a threatening manner.

However, Mr Potts said it was accepted that he did not used any unlawful violence. Howard's case was that he did not have a weapon with him at any time.

“There is photographic evidence that he had something in his hand but the Crown is not in a position to prove that it was a weapon.

“His part is that he leant support by his presence…and by intimidation as a group.”

Mr Potts said that it was likely an application for anti social behaviour orders would be made.

Ben Smitten, defending Carroll, said there had been “adverse coverage” about the legal aid order being made, adding: “No claim will be made under that order, as Mr Carroll has instructed.”

Judge Paul Downes adjourned the case until February 10 for sentencing.

Speaking after the hearing, Insp Mick Bates, of Norfolk police, said: “This was a very nasty and unprovoked attack and it is a tribute to the courage of the victims and the thoroughness of the officers who investigated it that the offenders have now all pleaded guilty.”

Last night a church leader who witnessed the fight involving Carroll said he felt “sorry” for the disgraced lotto winner.

The minister, who does not wish to be named, rescued a young girl from the scuffle after she was surrounded by his gang.

He said the former-binman had been led astray and wasted his chance in life after winning £9.7m in 2002.

“I just feel so sorry for him and I hope he can learn from this,” he said.

“That was not an acceptable way to behave in society. I'd felt for him right at the start and wrote to him and suggested that he could make amends.

“But he chose to ignore my letter and I never had any response from him.”

The minister said the attack had left young Christians in shock and ruined a “beautiful” evening.

“We supported one another through the whole situation,” he said.

“They said we were on their territory and they wanted to intimidate the young people and get them all cow-towing to the boys in the town.

“The witnesses to this attack were only 14 plus, and it was not just Christians but a real mix of people.

“It was a total shock that this beautiful evening had been spoiled by these louts coming in.”

The minister said many of those who had witnessed the attack had been ready to give evidence in court next week.