Mercy for man who took part in Bideford Quay affray

Exeter Crown Court

Exeter Crown Court. - Credit: Archant

A man who took part in a mass brawl on Bideford Quay has been spared an immediate jail sentence after he suffered a serious head injury in a second incident on the same night. 

Charlie Lance kicked and punched a helpless man who was on the ground in the stairwell of public conveniences near the Lundy Office on the afternoon of December 30, 2019. 

He suffered a significant head injury in an apparently unrelated assault elsewhere in Bideford a couple of hours later. 

He needed specialist neurological treatment in hospital and has been left with epilepsy, Exeter Crown Court was told. 

The man who he attacked suffered a serious injury to his arm but that was not caused by the assault on him but rather by his own Staffie dog which joined in the melee and bit him. 

The animal did not let go even when one of those who had started the attack kicked it to try to free its grip. 

Lance, aged 21, was in Devon after the break-up of a relationship and had been drinking with his new partner and fellow attacker Michelle Weeks before the fracas. 

Most Read

Weeks, aged 37, of Town Park, Torrington, has already received a 12-month suspended sentence for her part in the violence. 

A third man, Steven Trower, aged 41, of Churchill Road, Bideford, who started the violence and ended up kicking the dog, was jailed for 14 days by magistrates. 

Lance, now of Market Place, Norwich, admitted affray and was jailed for six months, suspended for 18 months and ordered to do 15 days of rehabilitation activities by Judge Peter Johnson at Exeter Crown Court. 

He told him he was taking into account the serious injuries which he suffered later that night and the efforts he has made to stay out of trouble in the intervening time. 

Mr Paul Grumbar, prosecuting, said the victim refused to make a complaint to police but the incident was captured on CCTV. 

The footage showed Trower starting the fight by flicking his hand in the victim’s face and Lance and Weeks joining in. 

Weeks aimed kicks and stamps at the victim’s upper body as he lay on the ground while Lance kicked him twice and threw a couple of punches at his face. 

Miss Felicity Payne, defending, said Lance was assaulted shortly after this incident and suffered a serious head injury which has left him with no memory of the night.  

He was living a chaotic life at the time with Weeks but has now moved to Norfolk, where he has family connections, and has settled down. 

He served in the army when he was younger but had to leave because of mental health issues which have been aggravated by his head injury. He hopes to find work as soon as he is well enough.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter