Spilled champagne row after hotel's Lobster Festival lands several guests in court

Darlington and Stockton Times: Durham Crown Court told of brawl in hotel foyer after spilled champagne row at Lobster Festival Durham Crown Court told of brawl in hotel foyer after spilled champagne row at Lobster Festival

TEMPERS frayed in a hotel reception area following a charity lobster and champagne event.

A row over spilled champagne in the bar after the Lobster Festival, at Hardwick Hall Hotel, in Sedgefield, County Durham, resulted in a drunken melee which spread into the reception foyer.

Several ticket holders at the £160-per head event became involved, using fixtures and fittings as weapons, in a scene described as like, "a Wild West saloon brawl”.

Durham Crown Court heard that during the incident a serious neck injury was inflicted on a bystander, who arrived at the hotel to collect portable toilets used at the event, which was staged in a marquee in the hall grounds, on April 27, 2012.

As his son, who was working with him, looked on, the victim had a broken champagne flute thrust into his neck by a member of a group at the event, said to be from the Hartlepool area.

Shaun Dodds, prosecuting, told the court that the man believed responsible for that attack has not been apprehended and remains at large.

But as a result of the circulation of CCTV stills by Durham Police, who were unfamiliar with some of the participants in the violence, colleagues in the neighbouring Cleveland force were able to provide names of some of those involved.

It led to several others, apart from the alleged principal culprit, being arrested and charged.

Men aged 48 and 29, from the Hartlepool area, admitted affray at a hearing last July, and will be sentenced following the outcome of proceedings against other alleged participants in the violence.

Two further accused, 46-year-old Stuart Bell and Leon Morfitt, 31, previously denied affray and their cases were adjourned for trial this week.

But Bell admitted an alternative charge of causing a fear or provocation of violence at the start of the hearing, which Mr Dodds said was “acceptable” to the Crown.

Bell, of Front Street, Burnhope, County Durham, was bailed to return for sentence also following the outcome of proceedings against Mr Morfitt.

Mr Morfitt told the court he was was trying to act as a “peacemaker” in the melee, during which he said he could be seen stumbling in CCTV footage, but which the prosecution claimed was more of a "lunge" and missed punch.

A jury failed to reach a verdict after a three-day trial and was today (Wednesday January 22) discharged by Judge Christopher Prince.

Mr Morfitt, of Owton Manor Lane, Hartlepool, was bailed to return to court on February 7, when the prosecution will announce if it plans to seek a retrial in his case.

Comments (9)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

10:54pm Wed 22 Jan 14

calumannabel says...

Classy!
Classy! calumannabel
  • Score: 5

6:07am Thu 23 Jan 14

black&whitehorse says...

you cant make a silk purse out of a pigs ear

so called upper classes
you cant make a silk purse out of a pigs ear so called upper classes black&whitehorse
  • Score: 6

6:59am Thu 23 Jan 14

Bilb0Baggins says...

Unlike me. You obviously don't know the names of those involved. I can assure you they are no 'upper' class. LOL
Just because it was £160 a head you assume that it must be the 'gentry' who went to this bash.
Unlike me. You obviously don't know the names of those involved. I can assure you they are no 'upper' class. LOL Just because it was £160 a head you assume that it must be the 'gentry' who went to this bash. Bilb0Baggins
  • Score: 7

9:46am Thu 23 Jan 14

studio says...

Big Fat Gypsy Knee`s up!
Big Fat Gypsy Knee`s up! studio
  • Score: 14

10:09am Thu 23 Jan 14

calumannabel says...

Bilb0Baggins wrote:
Unlike me. You obviously don't know the names of those involved. I can assure you they are no 'upper' class. LOL
Just because it was £160 a head you assume that it must be the 'gentry' who went to this bash.
My quote was 'ironic' and obviously went right over your Hartlepudlian head
[quote][p][bold]Bilb0Baggins[/bold] wrote: Unlike me. You obviously don't know the names of those involved. I can assure you they are no 'upper' class. LOL Just because it was £160 a head you assume that it must be the 'gentry' who went to this bash.[/p][/quote]My quote was 'ironic' and obviously went right over your Hartlepudlian head calumannabel
  • Score: 3

12:00pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Bilb0Baggins says...

As I wasn't refering to your "quote" but Black & White Horses, I don't quite know why you have got the hump.....
As I wasn't refering to your "quote" but Black & White Horses, I don't quite know why you have got the hump..... Bilb0Baggins
  • Score: 4

4:44pm Thu 23 Jan 14

calumannabel says...

Bilb0Baggins wrote:
As I wasn't refering to your "quote" but Black & White Horses, I don't quite know why you have got the hump.....
I ain't got the hump mate but I knew from their addresses they weren't from West Park area.
[quote][p][bold]Bilb0Baggins[/bold] wrote: As I wasn't refering to your "quote" but Black & White Horses, I don't quite know why you have got the hump.....[/p][/quote]I ain't got the hump mate but I knew from their addresses they weren't from West Park area. calumannabel
  • Score: -1

6:11pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Jackaranda says...

studio wrote:
Big Fat Gypsy Knee`s up!
Steady now, your comment may be annulled.
[quote][p][bold]studio[/bold] wrote: Big Fat Gypsy Knee`s up![/p][/quote]Steady now, your comment may be annulled. Jackaranda
  • Score: 4

9:34am Fri 24 Jan 14

studio says...

Jackaranda wrote:
studio wrote: Big Fat Gypsy Knee`s up!
Steady now, your comment may be annulled.
So Far so good! :)
[quote][p][bold]Jackaranda[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]studio[/bold] wrote: Big Fat Gypsy Knee`s up![/p][/quote]Steady now, your comment may be annulled.[/p][/quote]So Far so good! :) studio
  • Score: 4

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree