A firework display firm was fined #10,000 yesterday for failing to ensure the safety of a football fan who was struck in the face by a rocket.
Jubilee Fireworks Limited was also ordered to pay #6,000 in costs after pleading guilty to an offence under the Health and Safety at Work Act in relation to an incident which marred the Premiership match between Wolves and Newcastle United in November 2003.
Wolverhampton Magistrates' Court was told that the Titanium Comet was fired horizontally from the centre circle at Wolves' Molineux stadium after the lid of a box was blown into a mortar tube, knocking the launcher over.
The rocket forced players to duck and struck Wolves fan Denise Butler after deflecting off fellow supporter Carl Attewell, who had dived in front of his son to protect him.
Ms Butler, then 38, from Telford, was treated by the visiting side's club doctor.
She suffered "mild" posttraumatic stress disorder, which also left her permanently disfigured and suffering from a fracture to her cheek bone and nerve damage.
Barry Berlin, prosecuting, said an employee of the firm failed to notice that the launcher had been knocked over about 15 seconds before he fired the roman candle.
Simon Morgan, defending, said Jubilee, of Stallings Lane, Kingswinford, had an otherwise impeccable safety record.
Mr Morgan added: "This was not a deliberate breach of safety rules. It was a failure to recognise a hazard over a matter of seconds."
District judge Sham Qureshi said it would have been obvious to a schoolboy scientist or any layman that the tubes could be knocked over comparatively easily.
"There are serious aggravating features in this case. Fortunately no one actually died," he added before praising the bravery of Mr Attewell.
Ms Butler said: "At the end of the day they've been fined, but it's not going to bring my cheekbone back. Hopefully there won't be any more fireworks at football matches."