Disturbingly violent incidents continue unabated in the British Isles, offering perspective on the frequency and severity of Australia’s eulogised “epidemic” of violence.
UK media issues almost daily reports of alcohol-fuelled violence at licensed premises between highly intoxicated people. The majority would garner national media condemnation and whopping infringement notices for the venues were they to occur in Australia.
The past week has seen at least five articles in national publications, relaying occurrences of mass brawls, glassings and one-punch deaths.
18 January – the Daily Mail ran the story of a British man that died of wounds sustained at a Spanish pub, after being injured to the face, neck and chest with a broken bottle. Two men and a woman – believed to be also British – have been arrested and are being questioned by local authorities.
19 January – the Mirror UK had the story of a banker and graduate of elite university Durham who had a large part of his ear bitten off in a packed London bar. The highly intoxicated six-foot-three banker had been drinking for 11 hours, and CCTV showed him pushing and striking another man, before aggressively pulling the man toward him by the neck to hear what he had to say. He was reported to have said “get out of the way, brownie” before appearing to raise a fist, at which point the other man bit his ear. The banker denied any provocation. His assailant pleaded not guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent.
19 January – the Manchester Evening News reported on the trial of a man that killed another man with a cowardly punch from behind, which had caused him to fall and sustain serious head injuries. The man on trial had gotten involved in an argument that began after his friend knocked over a drink belonging to the second man’s girlfriend. The victim had been asked to leave, which he did, but was followed out of the pub, where he was struck. The attacker was jailed for six years for the incident, and his two mates also jailed for helping him escape the scene and deceiving police.
20 January – the Daily Mail told of the mass trial of 11 men and one women, who had all been charged with violent disorder after a brawl at a Christening party at a Stockport pub. Police report punches, kicks and furniture were thrown during the melee. Only one defendant pleaded guilty to the charge, with all others pleading not guilty or not entering any plea. All have been released on bail pending sentencing and further hearings.
21 January – the Irish Examiner published a sorry tale of 14 men from two families that were facing charges of violent disorder following an incident at a pub in Mullingar on St Patrick’s Day. The Gardai – Ireland’s police force – described the scene as “mayhem”, with blood, glass and upturned furniture littering the scene. Eighteen Gardai attended the pub, which Inspector Hughes said was known as “the slaughterhouse”. All defendants have been released on bail. Judge Hughes, of Mullingar District Court, noted the cost to the community and court resources. He also reportedly said that the pub’s management had “been transferred”¹ since the incident.
“The whole thing is a joke, an absolute joke.”
¹ This was the only reference made to the management of operation of the venue throughout the articles.