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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

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Carlisle affray trial jury consider verdicts

Jurors are considering verdicts on three people on trial following a mass brawl which left a nightclub boss in a month-long coma.

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Victim: Tim Ip

Related: Attacked Carlisle nightclub boss had trained as Thai boxer, court told

Tim Ip, who worked at Club Concrete in Carlisle, was beaten unconscious, suffered a brain haemorrhage and later fell into a coma last June.

Sean Carruthers, 31, Lee O’Neil, 31, and Jodie O’Neil, 29, have been on trial at Carlisle Crown Court this week accused of affray, a charge they deny.

Members of the jury have been shown CCTV footage of the attack, which started at the entrance to the Lowther Arcade before spilling out onto the street in the early hours on June 7.

Mr Ip was headbutted by Connor O’Neil and punched several times before he suffered a brain haemorrhage and later fell into a coma which lasted around a month, jurors heard.

He is now able to say a few words and is continuing to recover from his injuries.

Summing up the case, Judge Paul Batty QC referred to statements from door staff at the Outrageous bar, where the O’Neil group and Mr Ip’s group first clashed. They described how Mr Ip and his two friends were surrounded by several members of the O’Neil group, who had been to a funeral earlier that day.

“All hell broke loose” when the fight eventually erupted and Mr Ip was left on the pavement after he was attacked, jurors were told. Three members of the O’Neil group, Lee, Ricky and Connor O’Neil, ran off towards Warwick Street before they were later arrested.

Lee O’Neil, from Peterborough, had been visiting Carlisle for the funeral and didn’t know many members of his family very well.

He claimed he never intended to get involved in the fight and he only removed his jacket, as shown on CCTV, to protect his mobile phone and wallet, the court heard.

The court heard Carruthers, of Sunnymeade, Carlisle, voluntarily visited a police station the following morning where he admitted punching Mr Ip but claimed it was only in self defence.

Judge Batty told jurors they had to decide whether Mr Ip, a trained Thai boxer, was in any state to confront Carruthers after he had been attacked earlier. Carruthers denied doing anything wrong and claimed he didn’t know there was going to be trouble that night.

Jodie O’Neil denied being involved in any unlawful violence and said she was only trying to defend herself and her family.

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