THE Swan pub has been told to shut for three weeks after a man’s skull was fractured in a brawl thought to be over the Rugby World Cup.
A 52-year-old Havant man was beaten at the pub in Cosham High Street, and received injuries which police say will be ‘life-altering’.
The brutal attack has led to Portsmouth City Council closing the pub for 21 days.
On October 15, after Wales faced France in the Rugby World Cup semi-final, a fight broke out in the pub, between groups of English and Welsh men.
Police arrived at 3.15pm, by which point one or more of the brawlers had stamped on the 52-year-old’s head, causing a depressed skull fracture.
Three men, a 32-year-old from Wales, a 30-year-old from Portsmouth and a 50-year-old from Southsea, have been bailed until January 17 in relation to the crime.
Hampshire police Superintendant Norman Mellors authorised a full licence review, saying the incident was the latest in a series of licence-breaking offences the pub had committed.
The review will take place on November 16, and could see the pub shut down for good.
Yesterday afternoon, the council’s three-person licensing committee decided The Swan should shut its doors with immediate effect, until the hearing takes place.
Hampshire police licensing officer PC Keith Hall said: ‘This attack was a possibly life-threatening, and certainly life-altering, assault. A man is in hospital on a liquid diet as a result. It’s the pub failing to do its duty, and it’s clear it’s associated with serious crime and disorder.’
PC Hall said police had attended the pub, or attempted to meet its designated premises supervisor, Adrian Woods, in relation to seven other incidents, including a woman brandishing a knife during a lock-in, and a fight in which the manager and a member of the door staff were assaulted.
He said: ‘Mr Wood took over in April 2011, and despite repeated attempts, no officer has any record of seeing him on or off the premises. The assault was just the last in a series of incidents which have led us to need to take this action.’
Simon Thornton and Sarah Le Fevre, representing the pub’s owners Punch Taverns, said they had already sacked Mr Woods and the pub’s manager Colin Nash in response to the incidents.
Ms Le Fevre said: ‘We accept the temporary closure, and will seek new management, which will operate it responsibly when it reopens. This is a very unusual and very serious situation for us, and we have agreed to take every step to ensure the pub is returned to good order.’