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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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Three on trial accused of Carlisle affray

A jury was shown video footage of a mass brawl in which a Carlisle nightclub boss was left fighting for his life.

The trial of three people, Lee O'Neil, 31, Sean Carruthers, 31, and Jodie O'Neil, 29, got underway at Carlisle Crown Court yesterday

All three are accused of affray.

After the jury was sworn in members were shown a five-minute video clip in which the three defendants were allegedly part of an attack on Tim Ip in Lowther Arcade in Carlisle in the early hours on June 7 last year.

Mr Ip, who previously worked in Club Concrete in Lowther Street, was left with severe head injuries following the incident.

The court heard there had been words between a member of the O'Neil group and Mr Ip earlier that evening at the Outrageous bar.

Mr Ip and his two friends left the club but were followed by the O'Neil group and shortly after the fight broke out.

The court heard that the incident "descended into chaos" and then one member of the O'Neil group, Connor O'Neil, "headbutted" Mr Ip.

The video footage appeared to show Lee O'Neil, of Sandpiper Drive, Peterborough, before the fight "look round to see who was coming and then take his jacket off" in preparation for what was to follow, the court heard.

Jonathan Rodgers, prosecuting, said CCTV showed Jodie O'Neil, of Orchard Lane, Southampton, walk "straight into the forefront of what was going on".

"When the fighting started she certainly involved herself in it", Mr Rodgers alleged.

And regarding Sean Carruthers, of Sunnymeade, Upperby, Carlisle, Mr Rodgers added: "He isn't seen on CCTV doing anything but in his police interview he accepted he punched Tim Ip causing him to fall to the ground.

He (Sean Carruthers) claims Tim Ip came to him with his fists swinging so he acted in self defence.

"But looking at the CCTV footage Tim Ip was in no fit state to be swinging punches at anyone."

All three defendants accepted being present at the time of the incident, Mr Rodgers added, but Lee O'Neil denied throwing any punches, Sean Carruthers claimed he was provoked, and Jodie O'Neil claimed she tried to split everyone up and denied hitting anyone.

Mr Rodgers told the jury they only needed to watch the CCTV and use "common sense" to decide on each of the defendant's involvement.

The trial continues.

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