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Chair used 'like a lion tamer' in baby's inquest brawl at Archbishop's Palace, Maidstone

A deputy coroner has told a jury of the moment a man accused of being part of a fight at a baby's inquest grabbed a chair and used it "like a lion tamer".

Ian Wade QC was holding an enquiry at Maidstone's Archbishop's Palace into the unexplained death of a one-year-old.

Police swarm the Archbishops Palace in Maidstone
Police swarm the Archbishops Palace in Maidstone

After the mother Jordan Beck had finished her evidence, he ordered a break in proceedings and was then told that one of the witnesses was reluctant to give evidence.

In the company of an usher, a police officer and the grandfather of the dead baby, Mr Wade went into a side room to talk with Jordan's then boyfriend Joe Elkington-Rose.

He told a jury at Maidstone Crown Court how there had been an allegation that Elkington-Rose had been threatened and was now refusing to give evidence.

Tommy Robinson, 22, of Connaught Road, Chatham and James Robinson, Joe Elkington-Rose, 24, of St Paul's Close in Strood, Shane Ince, 33 of Wayfield Road, Chatham and Abbey Robinson, 30, of Pretoria Road, Gillingham are all accused of affray at the inquest.

All five have pleaded not guilty to affray and James Robinson, 51, of North Dane in Chatham has denied a further charge of assault on an emergency worker, Detective Constable Oliver.

Tommy Robinson
Tommy Robinson

Mr Wade said he had gone to see Elkington-Rose during the break because he thought he might have been "an immature man who had over-reacted to a situation.

"I thought that, on balance, it was appropriate to attempt to rescue the inquest and steer it to a conclusion."

However, once in the Wareham Room a fight broke out and Elkington-Rose grabbed a chair and used it "like a lion tamer".

Prosecutor Patricia May had told the jury that chairs and punches were thrown during the fracas and Elkington-Roser was bitten.

The inquest had been looking into the circumstances surrounding the death Jimmy Robinson, who had died five days before his second birthday in June 2017.

James Robinson
James Robinson

Mrs May said that a police investigation into the death had resulted in "no arrests or charges of any individual and the cause of death could not be ascertained."

The coroner said the incident had been "fast, frightening and confusing and shocking."

Mr Wade said: "Joe pushed me aside in a powerful way because he was intent on attacking Jim (James Robinson).

"I can't describe with precision any blow that was landed by Joe on Jim but in my mind it is inconceivable that anything else could have happened. Joe went for Jim and in the process he thrust me aside in order to attack Jim.

"The two of them came together of that I am sure. This was an extremely rapid and series of chaotic events. I can't say how many punches were thrown."

Shane Ince
Shane Ince

He said then other people then entered the room.

"Joe picked up a chair but wasn't using it to attack anyone. He was like a lion-tamer and defending himself."

Mr Wade told the trial how the day after the incident he quit his position as deputy-coroner for Maidstone but said it wasn't because of the incident.

The trial continues.

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