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Disabled Chatham mum Natasha McMillan's terror as UB40 gig violence at Rochester Castle leaves her in Medway Maritime Hospital

By Nicola Jordan

A disabled mother says she will never return to another concert at Rochester Castle after being struck on the head when drunken fighting broke out.

Natasha McMillan blacked out as she crashed to the ground after a bottle in a canvas bag was hurled at the UB40 gig.

Her friend Lisa Taylor, who helped her to her feet and tended her bloody wound, was cut on the foot by glass shards.

Natasha McMillan was hit on the head with a bottle during a concert

The headline event of this year's series of summer concerts, which sold out in hours, was dogged by problems - including a stabbing followed by a huge electrical storm that forced the band off stage.

Trouble flared when the band resumed their set. A spate of minor fights broke out just yards from the front, where the two women were dancing.

"It started off with a few scuffles and then a young girl in front of us was knocked flying..." - Natasha McMillan

Mother-of-two Mrs McMillan, of Carlton Crescent, Chatham, 35, and 33-year-old Miss Taylor, of Heron Way, Princes Park, had been looking forward to the gig since being one of the lucky ones to get the sought-after tickets.

Travel agent Miss Taylor said "We had talked about nothing else for weeks. And when the vast majority left due to the storm, we decided we were already wet enough so why not stay?"

Mrs McMillan said: "Up until then the atmosphere had been fantastic. But you could tell towards the end that a lot of people had been drinking in what had been a hot day and then they were wet and cold in the rain.

"There was also a lot of confusion about whether the band would be coming back on. The stewards were telling everyone they wouldn't be and to leave.

"It started off with a few scuffles and then a young girl in front of us was knocked flying."

A nasty gash to disabled Natasha McMillan's head

Mrs McMillan, who suffers from spondylosis, a painful spinal condition that causes the vertebrae to deteriorate, thought she had broken her arm.

She was examined by St John Ambulance staff and advised to go to Medway Maritime Hospital's A&E department where the three-inch cut in her head was glued.

She said: "It turned into a disaster. What made it worse was that I had rung the council to ask whether glass bottles were allowed and was told they could be confiscated at the gate.

"We took our drinks in plastic containers, but it didn't matter because we were not searched."

Mrs McMillan said her daughters, Demi, 14 and 12-year-old Aaliyah had said they wanted to go to the gig.

She said: "Thank God they did not come. It was the first concert I have been to – and the last."

Mother-of-two Natasha McMillan was also left with cuts to her foot

A police spokesman said they were investigating.

A Medway Council spokesman said: "Our Castle Concerts have a long and proud history of being trouble-free and are enjoyed by thousands of people in a safe environment.

"Unfortunately there were some disturbances in the crowds on Friday night, but these were dealt with speedily by the security staff we had on site, as we do at all our Castle Concerts.

"The operational management is handled by our very experienced events team, with more than 20 years' experience.

"The concert was paused to allow the storm to pass and messages were put on the screens in advance, setting out what we might need to do during the course of the evening.

"A compere from kmfm announced the situation on stage and the key messages were also stated on social media."

Ali Campbell on stage with UB40 at the Castle Concerts in Rochester

A spokesman added: "UB40 did return to the stage after the lightning storm had passed and they finished their set. They could not go on earlier than scheduled as they arrived at the venue not long before they were due to go on stage.

"As stated in our terms and conditions, people are asked, where possible, to decant drinks into plastic containers.

"There was not a blanket ban on any glass in the grounds as we seek to promote a picnic-style environment."

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