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Holsworthy Halloween party ended in mayhem, court told

By NDJNews  |  Posted: April 08, 2013

Exeter Crown Court

A barman suffered serious head injuries after being attacked by three members of the same family during a mass brawl at a Halloween party in Holsworthy.

A fight which started in a pub in the centre of Holsworthy spilled into the street and ended with injured men strewn across the road after a car was allegedly driven into the melee.

Exeter Crown Court heard the violence flared on the night before Halloween and many of the drinkers at the pub were wearing fancy dress - with two witches and an undertaker seen in the background of the CCTV.

Barman Ricky Cobbledick, who had left the Crown and Sceptre pub to try to break up the fight, was set on and suffered a broken jaw and internal bleeding in his skull which needed life saving emergency surgery.

The jury was told the fight broke out when a group of men from Holsworthy started arguing with members of the Quinlan family because they were not local. In fact they came from Milton Damerel, just seven miles away. The trouble started inside the Crown and Sceptre but the most serious violence took place in Fore Street after they were ejected.

Blaine Quinlan, aged 22, and a 17-year-old youth were involved in the initial brawl and his father Steven, aged 45, and older brother Jake, aged 23, became involved after a call was made back to the family home, it is alleged.

Steven arrived and drove into a crowd of men outside the White Hart pub before all four defendants joined in an attack on Ricky Cobbledick who was punched, kicked and stamped on as he lay helpless on the ground, the court was told.

Steven, Blaine and Jake, all of Downs View, Venn Green, Milton Damerel, and the youth all deny violent disorder, affray, attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent, and causing actual bodily harm. Steven denies dangerous driving.

They say they were acting in self defence or trying to break up the brawl and Steven Quinlan says he neither drove at anyone or hit them.

Jonathan Barnes, prosecuting, said Blaine Quinlan and the 17-year-old were drinking in the Crown and Sceptre where a confrontation started because they were not considered as locals, including Ricky Cobbledick’s brother Charlie.

Mr Barnes said: "Whatever may be the rights and wrongs of what took place earlier in the evening, the serious injury suffered by Ricky Cobbledick were the result of wholly excessive and unjustified violence on the part of these defendants. Blaine Quinlan had undoubtedly been provoked but that is no excuse for the way he behaved. He was plainly fighting aggressively with a large group of local men."

He said Ricky Cobbledick suffered bleeding on the brain and needed an urgent operation and a week’s specialist treatment at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.

His brother Charlie, who was in plaster with a broken leg, had the leg broken again, possibly as a result of being hit by Steven Quinlan’s black Rover car.

Mr Barnes said Steven and Jake Quinlan arrived at a scene where there was already an aggressive stand-off.

He said: "Steven Quinlan drove the car in a highly aggressive and highly dangerous way. The jury will have to consider whether he used the car deliberately as a weapon, driving at one or more pedestrians. It may be suggested they were rescuers but when they finally drove off they left behind a scene of mayhem. Ricky Cobbledick was on the ground and seriously injured.

“Another man called Harry Gower was on the ground. He thinks he was hit by someone who was thrown in the air by the car. Charlie Cobbledick’s broken leg had been fractured again.”

Mr Barnes said the scene was so confused and so many of those involved were drunk that many eye witness accounts contradict each other.

He said one of the most reliable came from John Vernon, who was a barman at the White Hart and saw Steven Quinlan get out of the car and join in the kicking of Ricky Cobbledick before getting back in and driving at Charlie Cobbledick.

All the defendants later told the police they had been attacked by a large group of locals and were defending themselves or others.

The trial continues.

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