Five men sentenced after drunken brawl in Heckmondwike pub

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Five men who smashed up a Heckmondwike pub and attacked staff have avoided being locked up by the “very narrowest of margins”.

The group turned up at the Sir Robert Peel pub just after last orders had been called on August 10.

When they were refused service, they quickly became involved in a violent brawl with staff.

CCTV footage shown at Leeds Crown Court yesterday (Thursday) revealed chaotic scenes, as chairs and stools were thrown around the pub.

Recorder Christopher Storey QC told the men: “Those who go on the rampage in public houses can expect that custodial sentences will follow.

“The public demands that staff and landlords as well as those who frequent public houses peacefully are protected by the passing of deterrent sentences.

“By the very narrowest of margins I am persuaded that it is in the public interest to suspend each of those sentences.”

Prosecutor Duncan Ritchie said the men went into the pub at around 12.30am after an evening of heavy drinking elsewhere.

He said there might have been a fight between two of the men – Jordan Miller and Stephen Swan – earlier as one asked staff for a plaster for a cut to his eye.

Bar staff refused to served the group as last orders had been called and turned off lights behind the bar to reinforce the point.

But Lewis Rouse, 20, vaulted the bar and started to help himself to drinks from a fridge.

Miller went behind the bar as well, while 20-year-old Swan threw a stool over the bar which hit barman Andrew Roome.

Staff pushed Rouse back out from behind the bar and landlord Carl Gomersal was called down to help.

Miller, 22, who went behind the bar for a second time, had been clapping and smiling, and pulled at two pumps.

Mr Gomersal put him in a headlock to stop him, prompting an attack from Miller and his friends.

The three were joined by John Coxon, 23, and Kyle Broadhead, 22, as they punched Mr Gomersal and hurled around chairs and stools.

Mr Gomersal’s son, Damian, was also assaulted when he tried to help break up the men.

Others in the pub joined efforts to calm the situation, and the group eventually left.

The door to the pub was smashed around the same time, causing £150 damage.

The court heard Mr Gomersal needed hospital treatment for a 5cm cut to the top of his head and a 2cm cut on the bridge of his nose.

He also suffered shoulder pain and had a lump on his head.

Mr Ritchie added: “Police say he has since decided to leave as landlord.”

The court heard all five had pleaded guilty to violent disorder at their first hearing.

They were said to be genuinely remorseful about their behaviour, which was out of character for them all.

All had family or friends in court supporting them, and the court was given character references from each of their employers.

Khaleeq Zaman, mitigating for Miller, said: “Theses are young individuals who did not set out to cause trouble. There were out drinking and, for Mr Miller’s part, it was something he didn’t usually do.

“He is thoroughly disgusted and ashamed of his own behaviour.”

Anastasis Tasou, for Broadhead and Rouse, said the pair had both experienced difficult childhoods and overcome personal difficulties to an extent.

He said both would describe themselves as binge drinkers, but they had stayed away from trouble.

“Both were genuinely horrified by their actions and surprised to witness the extent of their actions because their recollection of events is extremely hazy,” he said.

Robin Frieze, for Swan, said: “This was very significantly out of character for somebody who is otherwise a decent, hardworking young man.

“This is a one-off that he is properly sorry about.”

Jeremy Lindsay, for Coxon, said his client was deeply ashamed to have been involved in a “drunken, stupid, irresponsible brawl”.

He said: “There’s no doubt that he accepts responsibility. He has been forthright and honest about his part.”

Mr Storey said Broadhead had been one of the “prime movers” and Miller had played a “leading part”.

He said the others had played lesser parts, but had still come close to being locked up.

Broadhead, of Milton Drive, Liversedge, and Miller, of Quarry Road, Liversedge, were given 51 week jail terms suspended for two years with 200 hours unpaid work to be completed within 12 months.

Coxon, of Charlesworth Square, Cleckheaton, was given a six month jail term suspended for two years with 200 hours unpaid work to be completed within 12 months.

Rouse, of Quarry View, Dewsbury, was given six months’ detention suspended for two years with 200 hours unpaid work to be completed within 12 months.

Swan, of Berwick Avenue, Heckmondwike, was given six months’ detention suspended for two years and a 12 month community order with 15 day activity requirement.

Each of the men must pay £300 costs and £300 compensation to Carl and Damien Gomersal. Boradhead and Mill must each pay a £100 victim surcharge and the rest must pay £80.