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Monday, 20 October 2014

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Carlisle bar brawl trio sentenced by city court

Three men – including one who was involved in a money laundering operation – have admitted being involved in a brawl in a Carlisle pub.

Mark McCracken photo
Mark McCracken

A judge who viewed CCTV footage of the fight at Gallagher’s Bar in Botchergate told the three defendants that the courts will not tolerate such violence.

It happened in February last year as punters gathered to watch a football match on the bar’s TV, and left some elderly customers and a lone barmaid who was on duty terrified, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

One of the three in court for the punch-up was 25-year-old Mark McCracken, of Weardale Road, Denton Holme.

He had earlier been convicted of two separate offences – money laundering and trying to smuggle phones into Cumbria’s Haverigg Prison.

He admitted affray, as did his co-Carlisle defendants Kieran Bell, 22, of Carvoran Way, Sandsfield Park, Carlisle; and Robert Edmondson, 30, of Borland Avenue, Botcherby.

McCracken’s barrister Julian Goode said his client felt too ashamed to watch the CCTV footage of the fight, in which he was seen kicking a man and throwing punches.

Mr Goode said that McCracken accepted that he went too far.

He was jailed for six months for the affray – his sentence being part of an overall six-year sentence imposed for two unrelated offences of money laundering and attempting to smuggle phones and sim cards into Haverigg Prison.

Bell’s barrister, John Woodward, said: “The real problem he has is that when he has been taking drink and associating with people from the same culture and background, he gets himself into trouble.”

The barrister said Bell had now turned a corner and seen the error of his ways. He was jailed for 12 months.

Michael Raey, for Edmondson, said his client co-operated with the police and expressed regret for the violence. Edmondson, who is a long-term carer for his grandmother, had only got involved only after seeing his brother attacked during the melee. He had told police: “I did the wrong thing for the right reasons.”

Mr Raey said: “It was totally out of character and he feels ashamed

He was given 12 months’ jail but the sentence was suspended for two years. He must do 200 hours unpaid work and observe a nighttime curfew for the next four months.

Judge Paul Batty QC accepted that his actions were out of character.

The case was one of three involving McCracken at Carlisle Crown Court. In the most serious, McCracken was identified as the “leading light” of an operation to shift profits from cannabis-dealing in Cumbria to criminal associates in Liverpool.

He and two accomplices were also caught red-handed as they prepared to smuggle phones worth thousands of pounds into Haverigg Prison to a professional drug dealer from Cumbria serving a four-year jail term.

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