South Yorkshire thugs are spared from jail after bar manager was attacked during Covid row

Three thugs have narrowly been spared from prison after they were involved in a pub fracas over Covid-19 restrictions which left a bar manager unconscious with a fractured eye socket.

By Jon Cooper
Friday, 13th May 2022, 1:02 pm
Updated Friday, 13th May 2022, 4:05 pm

Sheffield Crown Court heard on May 13 how Joshua Walker, Rhys Wright and Ian Kennedy attended the Flying Childers pub, on Nostell Place, in Doncaster, and were involved in a dispute about Covid-19 restrictions which left the assistant manager with a fractured eye socket, a cut to his head and a lost tooth.

Nicola Quinney, prosecuting, said the defendants had gone to a prohibited Covid-19 restricted area and had to move but later became abusive to a member of the pub staff and police were called.

Ms Quinney added that Walker poured a drink towards the landlady and as the off-duty assistant manager came into the pub he was struck.

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Sheffield Crown Court has heard how three thugs who were involved in a fracas at the Flying Childers public house, on Nostell Place, Doncaster, pictured, have narrowly been spared from jail.

She said: “His next memory was being hit in the face and his tooth being knocked out, and he does not know who he was hit by or how many times.”

The assistant manager suffered a fractured eye socket and a cut to his head, and a tooth was knocked out, according to Ms Quinney.

He stated he believed the catalyst for the incident was people not wishing to comply with Covid-19 restrictions.

Walker, aged 26, of Maple Avenue, near Old Cantley, Doncaster; and Wright, aged 24, of Holmewood Lane, Armthorpe, Doncaster, both pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding after the incident on August 7, 2020. Ian Kennedy, aged 28, of Stone Riding, at New Edlington, Doncaster, pleaded guilty to affray.

Defence barrister Ismael Uddin, who revealed Walker has mental health and bereavement issues, said: “The defendant fully accepts his liability that he went into the public house and he started a fight and things quickly progressed.”

Mr Uddin added: “It is entirely him who started the fight but he did not anticipate it progressing in such a state or that the complainant would suffer such injuries.”

Edward Moss, defending, said Wright was not the instigator but he had taken an active role.

Mr Moss added: “There is genuine remorse. This is something that is completely out of character for this young man and when he looked back at the CCTV footage it is right to say he was shocked and appalled by his own behaviour.”

Rebecca Stevens, defending Kennedy, said: “He is a young man who ordinarily is not someone who goes out and drinks but on this occasion with the lifting of the lockdown precautions he had gone out with people he would not normally associate. He acted out of character on that day.”

Ms Stevens added that Kennedy had dropped his glass during what was an impulsive and not a sustained incident.

Recorder Anthony Kelbrick told the defendants: “I hope you are telling the truth when you say you are ashamed of what you did.”

He sentenced Walker to 16 months of custody, Kennedy to 15 months of custody and Wright to 13 months of custody, but suspended each of their sentences for 12 months.

He also ordered each defendant to undertake a 28-day curfew, 100 hours of unpaid work and a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and they must each pay £250 in compensation.

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