Judge slams ‘disgusting’ violence as three jailed for fight in HQ Sports Bar

Court news
Court news

Violence which erupted in Dunstable over a row of whose turn it was to play pool was described by a judge as “disgusting” and caused by people drinking large amounts of alcohol.

CCTV played to Luton Crown Court on Friday showed that trouble spread from inside the HQ Sports Bar to outside in the street where it involved a larger group of people.

Four men involved in the affray were in the dock,but Judge Michael Kay QC said not all of those who threw punches were before the court.

Prosecutor Daniel Siong said Shaun Gibbons was playing a version of pool where the winner stays on the table and plays the next person waiting for a game. But Jamie Hollis, Jack Bush and Sean Craig wanted to play amongst themselves and a row broke out.

Bush started punching Mr Gibbons and Hollis and Craig joined in. Hollis threw a glass and hit him with a chair, while Craig knocked him to the floor where Hollis kicked him.

Mr Gibbons suffered cuts, bruising and an injury to his throat.

Shortly afterwards the violence moved outside when Bush again threw the first punch. Martin Lauder,who was there with his wife and son, was seen to throw a punch at Craig but he missed. As a result Mr Lauder went down on one knee. Hollis kicked him in the head and Craig punched him to the ground. He fell unconscious and suffered fractures to both cheek bones and a broken ankle.

Seeing what had happened to his father, Jack Lauder tried to get across to him, but was stopped by a Casey Dumpleton who was acting as a peace-maker. Jack Lauder grabbed her and threw her to the ground. She suffered cuts and bruises.

Hollis, 26, of Mossdale Court, Luton and Craig, 21, of Grampian Way, Luton pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm, grievous bodily harm and affray in the early hours of Sunday, March 8. Bush, 21, of Brooklands Close, Luton pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm and affray. Lauder, 21, of Eastgate Court, Dunstable admitted battery and affray.

Andrew Kerry, for Hollis said he was a hard-working man in full employment with a grocery firm. He said he had pleaded guilty at the earliest hearing and expressed extreme remorse for his behaviour. He said Hollis, who had previous convictions for ABH, battery and possessing a weapon, had last been convicted of violence in 2009.

For Craig, Francis McGrath said he had no direct recollection of the night, but made admissions once the police had shown him the CCTV. He said he did not start the violence. He had one police caution for battery.

Andrew Kerry, also defending Bush, said he was “disgusted” by his behaviour that night. He said he had no previous conviction and had acted out of character.

For Lauden, Stephen Moore said “red mist” had come down when he saw what had happened to his father. He said he ran a team of sub-contractors in a roofing business.

Judge Kay said: “Every time incidents like this happen it reduces the confidence people have in going out for a drink and having a good evening. Parents worry about their children. It undermines the quality of life.”

He said the behaviour was “disgusting” and that all four should be ashamed of themselves.

He sentenced Hollis to three years’ jail. Craig was jailed for two years and Bush for 16 months. Lauder was given a six month sentence suspended for 18 months and ordered to carry out 150 hours’ unpaid work. He must abide by a 4-month curfew between 8pm and 5am, pay Ms Dumpleton £500 compensation and £470 prosecution costs.