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Bretton pub licensee and wife attacked by drunks behaving like animals

Terrifying acts of violence carried out by gang of three against Paul and Joyce Sylvester

Mold Crown Court

A husband and wife who took over a pub ended up being attacked by drunks, said to be behaving like a pack of animals.

At one stage the brave wife threw herself on top of her husband to try and protect him from kicks and punches and was injured herself.

Three men had been refused entry into the New Glynne Arms at Bretton because they were already drunk.

But a judge said they had behaved like animals and sent them all to jail after the disturbance in which the licensees Paul and Joyce Sylvester were injured, the glass in the front door was damaged and planters outside the premises in Chester Road were thrown and damaged.

Threat to burn pub down

A threat to burn the pub down was also made during the incident.

All three defendants – Anthony Rice, Joseph Canning and Stephen Cooper – were jailed at Mold Crown Court.

They all admitted ABH on Mr Sylvester, Canning and Rise admitted common assault on Mrs Sylvester and Canning admitted criminal damage.

Canning, 28, of Victoria Road, Saltney, was jailed for four months; Rice, 27, of Ewart Street in Saltney Ferry received 12 months and Cooper, 24, of no fixed address but who had lived in Saltney, was jailed for ten months.

'Pack of dogs'

Judge Nicolas Parry told them they had behaved like animals and said one witness had described them as a pack of dogs attacking their victim.

The judge said they had already behaved disgracefully outside a local supermarket and at a bus stop, causing distress to members of the public.

There were “extremely drunk” but not content with that, they went to the public house and caused a serious disturbance.

They set about the licensees, Canning ripped plants out, smashed a window and struck them both. He spat at the female victim.

Punched licensee

Rice attacked the female, left, but returned and punched her husband who went to the floor.

Cooper had also thrown a punch at the male landlord.

“This was an attack on public servants on licensed premises in drink,” he said.

The sentences reflected their guilty pleas and a one-third discount.

'Not tonight'

Frances Willmott, prosecuting, told how the couple took over the running of the pub last year but in November the three men approached the pub.

It was obvious they were drunk and Mrs Sylvester told them she could not serve them and at the front door put her hand out and said “not tonight”.

Canning tried to push past her and told her “don’t touch me”, was abusive and spat in her face.

Her husband approached and told them to leave.

Punched Mrs Sylvester

Rice punched Mrs Sylvester to the right cheek and Canning pushed her against a wall and punched her.

She was able to close the inner door but Canning kicked that and smashed the glass.

When Mr Sylvester tried to get them out, all three attacked him. He was knocked to the floor where he was kicked and punched.

His wife threw himself on top of him to protect him and for her trouble received a blow to the back of the head.

Kicked licensee to floor

They left, Rice returned, kicked Mr Sylvester to the floor which smashed his spectacles. Rice left picking up a chair and throwing it.

Canning left threatening to burn the pub down – but then returned and demanded that an ambulance be called for his friend.

Two planters outside each valued at £500 were broken.

Police arrived and Canning and Rice were arrested. Cooper was not implicated until later.

Could not sleep

In a victim impact statement, Mrs Sylvester told how she could not sleep after the incident.

She had never been subjected to violence in her life, she said, and was petrified of working alone in the pub. She was also worried about her husband working there.

Mr Sylvester told how he had been left apprehensive when groups of young men entered.

Both had injuries – he had extremely painful ribs, a sore jaw and pain to the eye and nose.

Canning ashamed

Debbie White, for Canning, said he was ashamed, had since the offence completed an alcohol course, was alcohol free and a very different man from the one he was at the time.

Drinking had become a real problem but had learnt his lesson, had sorted it out, was working and if he continued with his employment could pay compensation.

Peter Moss, for Rice, said that when sober, he was a polite young man with “a bit about him” and it was difficult to imagine him behaving in such an outrageous way.

It seemed to be down to an angry reaction to being refused drink when he was already drunk.

He had skills as a plumber and there was work immediately available to him.

Andrew Green, for Cooper, said that he was the least involved, he admitted one blow, he had been clean of alcohol for some four weeks and was prepared to work with the probation service.

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