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Drinker James Lawrence attacks Sandwich pub landlord over £11 bar tab

James Lawrence had been banned from The Red Cow pub in Sandwich

by Paul Hooper

A Sandwich pub landlord had to call on his martial arts skills to subdue a violent customer - furious over an £11.30 bar tab.

Squiffy scaffolder James Lawrence, 25, claimed he had been "disrespected" by being asked to stump up the cash.

He confronted Mark Lewins, landlord of The Red Cow pub, drenching him with beer – before launching an attack with the empty glass.

Jim Harvey, prosecuting, told Canterbury Crown Court how Lawrence:

  • SHOVED a retired GP in his 70s into a fruit machine knocking his spectacles to the floor
  • KICKED and repeatedly charged the pub door after being locked out
  • PUNCHED the landlord in the right eye
  • GRABBED a billiard cue and smashed it around the bar and
  • SCREAMED at one police officer: "You are a dead man walking" before headbutting him

Lawrence, of Burch Avenue, Sandwich, was jailed for eight months after admitting affray.

Mr Harvey told how Lawrence had been barred from the pub for two years – but had been allowed back just weeks before the outburst in July this year.

"He had been barred due to the number of fights he had been involved in and had run up a bar tab of £11.30," he said.

"i will bite your ears and face off... you are a dead man walking..." – james lawrence to a police officer

"His ire had been stoked by what he regarded was an inappropriate approach by the landlady Deana Lewins to settle the bill."

He stormed up to Mr Lewins in an aggressive mood, telling him: "I have been disrespected by your wife. I can't have a go at her... so I am going to have a go at you."

Mr Harvey added: "Mr Lewins has had some experience in the martial art of judo and because of that he was able to defend himself from being struck and was able to restrain him on the floor."

But as other drinkers pulled Lawrence away, he screamed at the landlord: "I am going to kill you."

After pushing Dr Martin Griffiths into a fruit machine and punching the landlord, he was arrested by police officers.

But the prosecutor said that as he was being led away he was inciting other members of his family to "extract retribution" – before later trying to throw himself out of the police car.

He then told one officer: "I will bite your ears and face off... you are a dead man walking."Canterbury Crown Court

Lawrence was sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court

Dikon Reid, defending, claimed Lawrence had been upset after discovering his best friend had committed suicide that day.

"He had consumed a quantity of alcohol, but he was not seriously drunk and the only explanation he can offer is that he simply lost control."

But Judge James O'Mahony told him he believed he had consumed "a significant quantity of alcohol that evening" and added that his claim to have been the victim in the incident was "utterly delusional".

He added: "Everyone is sorry to hear about the death of your friend, but that cannot excuse what you did and it is by no means the first time you have used violence. This was appalling violent behaviour."

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