Pub loses licence after 'horrific attack' left customer in hospital

Memory Lane in Seaham
Memory Lane in Seaham -Credit:Copyright Unknown

A pub has lost its licence after a "horrific attack" hospitalised a customer with life-threatening injuries.

Memory Lane in Seaham will remain closed after the police and local authority raised concerns with the venue's management following the incident. A Durham County Council licensing committee ruled there are "clear failings" with the business and said staff lacked training.

Memory Lane's licence was initially suspended at an earlier hearing on April 25, which was held after the incident on April 20. The victim was found lying unconscious with significant blood loss after the attack. He fractured both eye sockets, lost three teeth, and had surgery on his jaw.

A female at the pub was heard shouting "he's nearly dead". Sergeant Caroline Dickenson, of Durham Constabulary, said staff called an ambulance but not the police.

She said: "CCTV has captured the assault in full and it shows a horrific attack on the victim who has significant injuries to his face. The victim has been punched over a dozen times to the face whilst he appears unconscious, displaying a clear intent to cause serious harm to the victim."

However, officers were initially unable to view CCTV at the premises due to an ongoing dispute between the venue's owners. Durham police said all glassware had been removed from the scene by staff before police officers attended.

A hearing on Monday was shown shocking pictures of the victim's injuries while lying in hospital waiting for treatment. CCTV footage of the assault was also shown. Emma Bird, one of the owners, said the pub was free of trouble before the incident and attracted an older adult crowd through its Motown theme.

She reiterated her commitment to improving the venue despite the concerns. She added: "I promise that I will have full control over anything. This will not happen again under my watch and I will do everything to ensure that."

David Comb, defending, told the committee: "This was not a premises that was in the habit of dealing with serious violence, or particularly prepared for it. There will have been a degree of shock for the people who worked there when this spontaneous episode of very serious violence erupted."

But committee members revoked the licence after hearing how people in charge of the pub had disputed over the CCTV system.

Cllr David Brown, licensing chair, said: "This incident was very serious. We've seen the footage, the photographs, and heard from the police about the consequences. Largely, that type of behaviour cannot be attributed to the licence holder. But the response has shone a light on the clear failings within this licence.

"The committee is concerned at the lack of training, incidents, and the ability to fully comply to conditions going forward. The clear issue is the licence holder having full control of the premises, and the committee cannot be assured that the licensing objectives cannot be undermined going forward."