WATCH: Violent brawl that forced Portsmouth pub to shut down
SHOCKING CCTV footage has shown how a '˜drink-fuelled' brawl erupted in a pub that has since been shut down.
Pool balls and punches were thrown in the fight involving up to 10 people at The Victory pub at The Hard, in Portsea.
Tensions flared between a stag do for Colin Nash, the licensee’s partner, and a group celebrating a birthday, a court heard.
The violence started in the small pub when Harry Armstrong, 26, who had been drinking Jack Daniels since 1pm, punched another man.
Armstrong’s defence claimed the man had put a bottle near his face and said: ‘What are you going to do about it? What’s your problem?’
After the punch, Francis Wheatcroft, 32, ran across the pub and punched ground worker Armstrong.
Footage played at Portsmouth Crown Court showed punters diving in to split up the men, while punches were thrown.
Wheatcroft was pushed into a juke box or gaming machine and knocked out, lying on the floor as the brawl continued.
Jimmy Madgwick, 25, had only been in the pub for 30 minutes when the ruckus started. He was seen picking up pool balls and threw one at Armstrong.
CCTV operators saw people spilling out on to the street at 11.40pm and called police.
As officers arrived, punters ran away from the pub and Armstrong was arrested.
The pub’s licence was revoked and magistrates refused an appeal by the pub to win it back.
Roderick Blain, prosecuting, told the court how prosecutors had to rely on the CCTV as no punters would make statements to police.
Bizarrely there is now ‘no animosity’ between the groups following the violence on July 4 last year.
Addressing the trio, judge Sarah Munro QC said the atmosphere in the pub was ‘tense’ between the stag do and Armstrong’s group, which was celebrating his brother’s birthday.
She said: ‘A feature of this case is the lack of co-operation by any witnesses. Far more people were involved in the fighting than just you three, even the licensee had to be persuaded under the threat of losing the licence.
‘This was an extended violent incident fuelled by drink that everyone had taken.’
In police interview Madgwick claimed he picked up the balls to protect others.
All three men pleaded guilty to affray at earlier hearings.
Armstrong, of Cedar Gardens, Havant, has two previous court appearances for public order offences.
He was handed a six-month prison term suspended for a year, with a three-month curfew between 8pm and 4am, and must pay £425 costs.
Daniel Mansell, for Armstrong, said: ‘It’s clear that night some people came to the pub looking for violence – he was not one of them.’
Madgwick, previously of good character, was sentenced to a four-month prison term suspended for a year with 150 hours of unpaid work. He must pay £500 costs.
Addressing Madgwick, King William Street, Portsea, the judge added: ‘I recognise you were truly shaken from the moment of your arrest and are still showing signs of that as you are of your remorse.’
Unemployed Wheatcroft, of Curzon Howe Road, Portsea, who has five previous court appearances for six offences, was handed an eight-month sentence suspended for a year.
The court heard he had been drinking and taken drugs. He must complete 20 rehabilitation activity days, undergo a three-month curfew between 8pm to 6am and pay £600 prosecution costs.