Published: 17:31, 05 November 2018
| Updated: 20:02, 06 November 2018
A former top actor terrified a barmaid when he brandished an imitation gun at her as she stood behind a pub bar, a court heard.
Melissa Green screamed for help after John McEnery produced the black handgun “apparently out of nowhere” and pulled out the magazine and put it straight back in, before cycling off.
The 75-year-old ex-husband of Dynasty actress Stephanie Beacham was also involved in another incident when what was believed to be the same gun – which turned out to be a water pistol - was brandished in a wine bar, it was alleged.
It happened when McEnery and pal Steven Majewski, 42, were refused drinks after hours. Told that the bar was closed, McEnery said “That’s no way to treat a couple of alcoholics”, Maidstone Crown Court was told.
The thespian, who was once nominated for a BAFTA, later told police he had been “scornful” of Ferraris parked outside binElla Wine and Champagne Bar in Faversham and the owners drinking Champagne.
McEnery, now of Marine Parade, Sheerness, and Majewski, of Canal Road, Strood, deny possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence. McEnery also denies a similar charge involving The Leading Light Wetherspoons pub in Faversham.
Prosecutor Mary Jacobson said the wine bar at Standard Quay had closed early at 10pm some time between July 1 and August 8 last year, and owner Janis Osborn was there with her partner Christopher Baldock and employee Miranda Spendiff, who was cashing up.
McEnery and Majewski entered. Both appeared to be drunk. Told by Miss Osborn and Mr Baldock they would not be served, McEnery made the comment about it being no way to treat alcoholics.
A threat was then made to shoot them, it was alleged. Miss Osborn recalled McEnery making the threat, while Mr Baldock said he believed it was Majewski.
“Upon that threat being made Steven Majewski immediately reached into his jacket and pulled out a gun,” Miss Jacobson told the jury of six men and six women.
“Whereas Miss Osborn thought it was a fake gun, Mr Baldock didn’t. Indeed, he moved forward prepared to tackle them, since the gun brandished was so realistic.
“John McEnery made a comment to the effect: ‘We have got you worried now.’ Mr Majewski made the comment: ‘Only joking.’
“He did, indeed, put the gun away and they left. Nonetheless, it was a frightening incident.”
Miss Jacobson said it was not reported at the time and only came to light after the incident at Wetherspoons in Preston Street.
McEnery, who BAFTA nomination was for his role as Mercutio in Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 film Romeo and Juliet, was a regular there and had become “somewhat interested” in Miss Green.
He was initially friendly but then kept questioning her about when she would next be working.
The former actor, who was married to Stephanie Beacham between 1973 and 1979, shouted out to her as she arrived for work at 8.20am on August 8 last year.
She ignored him and he stood outside looking through the window. He went up to the bar and she told him to leave as he was barred.
“He asked for her phone number,” said Miss Jacobson. “She refused. Then he produced what she describes as a black handgun. He simply produced it apparently out of nowhere.
“He pulled out the magazine and put it straight back in, all in front of her. She was very frightened and felt he was intending to frighten her. She immediately moved away from him. She screamed for help.”
A colleague who was outside taking a delivery heard her screams and shouts and went inside. McEnery faced him, waved the gun around at shoulder height and declared: “It’s just a water pistol.” He then cycled off.
CCTV footage from inside the bar was shown to jurors.
The police were called and an armed response unit went to a houseboat on the creek, where McEnery and Majewski were staying. A gun seized was found to be a water pistol which had the appearance of a real firearm.
“It caused fear to those who had seen it brandished in that manner,” said Miss Jacobson.
After his arrest on August 8, McEnery said he had gone to the pub to help Miss Green with her events organisation career.
He admitted that after he was told he was barred, he may have pulled out the gun, taken out the magazine and put it back in again. She was terrified and thought it was a real gun, he said.
He added that she hid behind the coffee machine and for 10 seconds had suffered extreme fear. He had not intended to frighten her.
The wine bar incident was more Only Fools and Horses than Oceans Eleven, the court heard.
Christopher Baldock, partner of binElla boss Janis Osborn, agreed with the TV and film analogy by McEnery's barrister when giving evidence.
Mr Baldock said he and Miss Osborn were closing up in the bar after 10pm. Barmaid Miranda Spendiff was behind the bar.
Two men came in and the elderly one asked: “Are you still open?” Miss Osborn replied: “Sorry, we are not.”
“He pushed to try to get a drink,” said Mr Baldock.
“The younger man was standing behind him in the hallway. The older one said: ‘That’s no way to treat a couple of alcoholics.’
“At that point I realised they had probably had drinks beforehand. I actually said quite bluntly: ‘No, there are no more drinks.’
“Just after that, the young one said: ‘Oh, we will have to shoot you them then.’ He reached inside his coat and produced what looked like a handgun.
“I felt I had better deal with the situation and started to make a move forward to disarm him. The gun was half out of his jacket.
“It went back, and he left and said ‘Ha ha, only joking.’ They quickly shuffled out. I felt a little bit threatened. When I saw the gun, I couldn’t really believe it to start with.
“I realised what was going on. The threat came in and I thought I had better do something about it.”
Questioned by Pippa Woodrow, for McEnery, he agreed it was clear the two men were drunk and were “joking around and being silly” halfway through the incident.
Mr Baldock said the older man was “just standing there” when the alleged shooting threat was made.
Miss Woodrow pointed out that Miss Osborn stated the older man had said: “Would you give us a drink if we were to shoot you?”
Mr Baldock replied: “I think mine is right.”
He agreed the incident was initially unsettling and that if it had been a real gun it would have been a dangerous situation.
He also agreed that he did not call the police “because you thought these were harmless fools. They were just drunk and foolish.”
"This was more Only Fools and Horses than Oceans Eleven" - Pippa Woodrow
Mr Baldock laughed and said “Yes” when Miss Woodrow said: “This was more Only Fools and Horses than Oceans Eleven.”
The water pistol was handed around the jury to inspect.
Barmaid Miranda Spendiff said she was cashing up the takings when two “scruffy” men entered.
“I felt they were quite drunk already,” she said.
“The older one asked for a drink. Janis said we were closing the bar.
“They were laughing about it, making a joke. That’s when they said: ‘Oh, we will have to shoot you for one then.’ I believe the older one (said it). The younger man was behind him.
“I felt quite alarmed when he said that. I felt quite shocked by it. I was looking down at the time. I didn’t want to engage with any eye contact.
“They both left after that happened. It made me feel very unsafe as a young woman in the bar, but having Janis and Chris there helped me, because they are like a safety net for me.”
Giving evidence by TV link with Bristol Crown Court, she added: “It is not nice. It didn’t make me feel nice.”
She had said in her police statement that the two men were “all over the place”, laughing and joking and being silly.
Miss Spendiff said she did not see anything produced by the men. There was no discussion about calling the police.
“After they left we carried on closing up the bar,” she said.
Sebastian Goodwin, shift leader at the Leading Light, said he was taking a delivery out the back of the bar when he heard barmaid Melissa Green scream his name.
“I turned around and she screamed again,” he told the jury.
“She told me a gentleman who was barred previously had a gun.
“As the gentleman was leaving the weapon was waved about at shoulder height. He said: ‘It’s just a water pistol.’ It looked real. He was about 10 paces away when he said it.
“He was talking and waving it simultaneously. I wasn’t sure at the time. I had to take it as a serious situation. I went to grab the phone in the kitchen. I informed the pub manager and called the police.”
Mr Goodwin explained that the man was not brandishing the gun, but holding it up. He added that he was not being threatening towards him.
PC Kevin Thorpe said he was part of an armed response unit that went to what was known as “the pirate ship” at Abbey Fields by Faversham Creek after reports of a gun incident at the Leading Light.
He and his crew were armed with G36 carbine Heckler and Koch assault rifles. McEnery, who was there with Majewski, was handcuffed.
“I was informed a handgun had been found on the boat,” said PC Thorpe.
Told he was being arrested, McEnery made no reply. After another officer handed him a water pistol from the boat, they put their weapons away.
The trial continues.
More by this authorKeith Hunt