Workmates banned from Exeter bar after 'ugly' fight

The Terrace in Exeter
The Terrace in Exeter -Credit:The Terrace Facebook

Three thugs have been banned from an Exeter bar for two years after an unprovoked attack left one man with a double fracture to his jaw. Workmates Ellis Barrow, Rory Barrow and Barnaby Butt turned their fury on two strangers after being thrown out of The Terrace in the city's Guildhall.

They were all part of a group attack captured on CCTV which led to a police appeal for information. Two of the men exchanged text messages in the aftermath saying the story had appeared on DevonLive and they should keep quiet to avoid detection.

But police managed to track them down because Butt had used a banking app while in the bar. The defendants, all carpenters working for business-owner Ellis Barrow, appeared at Exeter Crown Court after admitting affray.

They were spared jail by the judge but banned from the bar and made subject to a six-month home curfew. One of the victims said in a statement he no longer felt safe visiting Exeter city centre.

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The incident happened shortly before midnight on December 12, 2021. The court was played CCTV which showed Rory Barrow, aged 28, looking angry after being ejected from the bar.

The violence started when he pushed into two men aged in their 20s on their way home from a night out. Judge James Adkin said it was clear to him from the footage that Rory Barrow was "geeing himself up" and looking for a fight after leaving the bar.

Ellis Barrow, 32, then got involved and made a headbutting motion before punching both men. Butt, 20, delivered the final blows with his fists.

One of the victims suffered a double break to the jaw that required him to eat through a straw and undergo several operations to fit a metal plate and screws that did not work properly. More than two years after the incident he still experiences significant issues with his jaw.

He said he used to be a confident person but is now wary and does not go out in the city. "Exeter has become a place where I feel unsafe and unwelcome," he said.

His friend, who was not as seriously injured, said the incident is always on his mind when he visits Exeter. "Everyone should be able to go about their business without feeling unsafe," he said. "I don't feel safe in the town I grew up in."

There were delays in getting the case to court because police could not initially trace who was responsible for the attack. Rory Barrow also went to live in Thailand.

Police needed court orders to access banking details used at the club and arrested Butt. He did not reveal who had been with him and police issued an appeal for witnesses.

The investigation revealed that within 48 hours of the assault Ellis Barrow was sending Butt a text saying: "Keep quiet about Saturday night." Butt assured him he had not told anybody.

Another message exchanged between the two said: "It's on DevonLive." The reply was "Oh s**t, I've just seen that. I ain't telling no one."

Joss Ticehurst, defending Ellis Barrow, said the defendant, of Champion Way, Tiverton, was sorry for his "absolute stupidity." He said sending him to prison would cause hardship to his family and others he employs. "He's learnt his lesson," said Mr Ticehurst.

Dan Pawson-Pounds, for Rory Barrow of Chevithorne, Tiverton, said he was a low risk of reoffending. Character references described him as "helpful" and eager to avoid confrontation. He is also sorry for his "ridiculous error of judgement."

Simon Burns, mitigating for Butt of Chapel Street, Tiverton, said he had initially tried to act as a peacemaker. He is also sorry and kept quiet about what happened because Ellis Barrow was his boss at the time.

Judge Adkin said it was an "ugly affray" and all three defendants were drunk at the time. He said there was currently a crisis in prisons due to overcrowding and he would spare the defendants because none of them had previous convictions.

They were each jailed for 14 months, suspended for two years, and made subject to a curfew between 7pm and 7am. They must each pay one of the victims £1,200 compensation and complete 25 rehabilitation days with probation.