Chester couple’s row in city pub ended in violent fracas


Staff reporter (Chester Standard)

A Chester couple have admitted assault following a fracas involving five people at a city centre pub.

Andrew Peter Speed, 30, of Church Road, Dodleston and Rachel Cooke, 32, of Tennyson Walk, Blacon, both pleaded guilty to the charges at Chester Magistrates Court yesterday.

Speed and Cooke got into a disagreement with Leigh McClelland, the landlord of The Saddle Inn in Grosvenor Street, after he tried to calm them down during an argument the couple were having.

A customer at the pub and barmaid Zoe Ellson also tried to intervene and were also subjected to physical and verbal attacks.

Cooke was ordered to undertake 90 hours of unpaid work and pay costs and compensation of £445, while Speed was also given 90 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £245 costs.

The court heard that about 11pm on Thursday, March 30, Mr McClelland had spotted Speed and Cooke becoming aggressive towards each other and pushing and poking each other. He asked them to calm down, but 30 minutes later heard Cooke say “go on then, do that again” and saw them pushing and shoving again.

He attempted to separate the couple, restrained Cooke and asked them to leave the premises. The court then heard how Speed turned on Mr McClelland and squared up to him, shouting “come on then” in an aggressive manner.

Cooke then spat at and attacked the landlord until Mr McClelland “took her down to the floor in a controlled manner”.

A customer at The Saddle Inn then attempted to intervene and help calm the situation, but Cooke kicked him in the knee and continued to behave aggressively.

Barmaid Zoe Ellson heard raised voices and came from behind the bar to see what was happening.

The court then heard how Cooke turned her attention to Miss Ellson and grabbed her around the throat, leaving the barmaid severely shaken and with a scratch on her neck.

The police arrived, but Speed resisted arrest until the couple were subdued.

“They are both truly ashamed and totally disgusted at their behaviour,” said Becky Hay, defending. “They were bickering and it spiralled out of control.

“They were both clearly under the effects of alcohol and their behaviour was out of character.”

The court head that since the incident Cooke was “too scared to drink alcohol” and Speed had lost his job as a chef because of his arrest following the fracas.

See full story in the Chester Leader

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