Suspended jail sentence for Exmouth man who admitted punching a wedding guest

PUBLISHED: 15:40 02 February 2018

Exeter Crown Court. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exe 9420-31-11AW

Exeter Crown Court. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exe 9420-31-11AW

Archant

Nathan Fowler, aged 20, of Ryll Grove, Exmouth, was part of a group of drunken men who set upon a male guest attending a wedding party. He admitted affray at Exeter Crown Court and was jailed for eight months, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 80 hours unpaid community work.

A Withycombe Raleigh man who admitted attacking a wedding guest outside an Exmouth pub has received a suspended jail sentence and ordered to do community work.

Nathan Fowler, aged 20, of Ryll Grove, Exmouth, was part of a group of drunken men who set upon a male guest attending a wedding party.

The men, aged 21 to 25, exchanged words with customers standing outside the Grapevine pub at closing time and then walked on before running back and starting the fracas.

They were caught on CCTV as victim Terry Middleton was attacked and left in a pool of blood and a second man named Scott Todd was punched to the ground.

Some of the group taunted Mr Middleton’s wife, Fiona, about her husband being injured and she was seen tending him on the ground and trying to stop his attackers getting away.

The violence flared late at night on August 9, 2015, after Mr and Mrs Middleton had returned from a vintage-themed wedding and were having a last drink of the night with her father and other friends.

Darren Travers, aged 26, of Manor Court, Sidmouth, denied affray but was found guilty by a jury at Exeter Crown Court.

Nathan Fowler, aged 20, of Ryll Grove, Exmouth, admitted the same charge.

Ayden Barrier, aged 21, of Bradley Lane, Newton Abbot, denied affray but was found guilty of the lesser charge of threatening behaviour.

Matthew Pugsley, aged 21, of Rosebery Road, Exmouth, was cleared of affray and threatening behaviour and discharged.

Neither Travers, Barrier or Pugsley gave evidence at their trial.

Travers was jailed for a year.

Fowler was jailed for eight months, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 80 hours unpaid community work; Barrier was ordered to do 80 hours community work by Recorder Mr Llewellyn Sellick.

The judge told them: “This was a violent attack as a result of which Mr Middleton was knocked unconscious and fractured his tibula and Mr Todd was also rendered unconscious and suffered a blow to the head from Fowler.

“The prosecution were unable to say who did what precisely to whom but it is quite clear from the CCTV and the evidence of the witnesses that this was a frightening and very violent incident, albeit one which lasted only a few minutes.”

During a four-day trial the jury were shown CCTV from three different cameras at or near the pub, which showed some but not all of the violence.

All four men were seen walking past the pub and Barrier returning to remonstrate with customers stood outside it.

The others then returned and Travers was shown punching and kicking. Fowler was seen punching a pub customer.

Pugsley was cleared because he was not seen taking part in any of the violence shown on the CCTV.

Mr William Parkhill, for Travers, said he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia since the incident and has turned his life around, stopped drinking, and moved away from bad influences in Exmouth.

Mr Warren Robinson, for Fowler, said he admitted his involvement from the outset and has stayed out of trouble while working for an events company.

Mr Piers Norsworthy, for Barrier, said he is working as a chef, is about to become a father, and given up the lifestyle which led to his involvement in this incident.

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