A ROW over a woman's smoking habits escalated into a "disgraceful" brawl at a Christleton pub.

Vivian Royle, 54, Angela Orend, 51 and David Booth, 52, all pleaded guilty at Chester Crown Court on Thursday, January 10 to affray following the fight at the Christleton Institute.

CCTV footage of the incident from about 11.15pm on April 14, 2018, was played at the court clearly showing the three fighting. Also present at the pub were the bar manager, who tried to break up the fight, and a customer.

Judge Steven Everett handed all three defendants community orders to include unpaid work.

He told them: "Each of you will be wearing orange jackets. I have seen people clearing up in the church at Christleton and people will see you. How galling that might be for you."

Royle, of The Vetches, Guilden Sutton, had no previous convictions. Orend, of Stone House Lane, Peckforton, and Booth, of Thornleigh Avenue, Eastham, had minor matters on their record but "nothing to trouble the court".

Prosecuting, Simon Duncan said Royle gave Orend grief and she attacked him, while Booth later intervened.

Judge Everett said: "They all behaved disgracefully."

Royle, who was shown on CCTV throwing a broken chair leg across the room towards the end of the fight, suffered a fracture to the left fibula.

Booth, who defended himself in court, said he was punched several times to the head in the incident.

In police interview, Royle confirmed that there was an issue in his business with Orend's smoking. He was told to "f*** off" and when he turned away the next thing he knew was he had been knocked to the floor.

The bar manager tried to break up the fight and was seen on CCTV footage following the incident looking distressed.

Judge Everett said: "My sympathy is completely with the manage of the bar. He found it incredibly upsetting."

Paul Becker, defending Orend, said: "[The defendant] was in a state of tremendous grief; the actions were wrong, but her mind was not in the best place."

The court heard Orend had suffered a bereavement days before the incident, had depression and anxiety and, in the past, had been the victim of domestic violence by a former partner who had put a knife to her throat.

Adam Antoskiw, defending Royle, said the incident was wholly out of keeping with his previous good character.

He added: "He should have left his views on smoking to himself and what followed was unexpected. He can clearly be seen trying to calm it down but he loses his temper and then he throws a chair leg. He accepted his behaviour was unacceptable."

Booth, defending himself, told the judge: "I had lost it; the reason is that, unseen on the CCTV, I was punched to the side of the head in excess of 10 times. I do apologise to the bar manager and to yourself."

Judge Everett told the three defendants in the dock: "I suspect that this time a year ago none of you ever contemplated you would be standing here for what was quite unpleasant affray.

"If this had been in a packed club, your lack of convictions would not have saved you from going to prison.

"The impact on the bar manager – he had his head in his hands, he is in shock at what has happened at people who had visited the pub before, just erupting."

Judge Everett told Royle: "Whatever your views on smoking, you wound her up. Sometimes you did not know when you should shut up. In a sense, you started it."

Turning to Orend, he added: "That does not excuse your behaviour on the night. You started the violence."

And speaking to Booth, he said: "You were not involved in the incident at first but then clearly lost yourself."

In mitigation, Judge Everett said to Orend: "I understand you were under tremendous pressure. You have had a difficult previous relationship and you have had real issues."

To Royle, he said: "You are of previous good character, in your mid-50s, and regarded highly by your employer. You have expressed remorse."

To Booth, he said: "You are also at low risk of reoffending."

All three received 12-month community orders to feature 100 hours unpaid work, plus £340 prosecution costs.

In addition, Orend and Booth are to complete 10 days of a rehabilitation activity requirement.

  • A fourth defendant, 56-year-old Stephen Seymour, of Durban Avenue, Christleton, pleaded not guilty to affray. His trial has been listed to take place at Chester Crown Court the week commencing August 12.