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Best man sparked Flintshire wedding brawl

Published date: 11 October 2012 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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Daniel Durham and Nichola Ann Lawlor pleaded guilty to assault 

A BEST man and his girlfriend have admitted being involved in a wedding party brawl.

Daniel Durham and Nichola Ann Lawlor, both of Nant Mawr Road, Buckley, pleaded guilty to assault at Northop Hall Cricket and Hockey Club, where they left another couple bleeding after a “melee” in the street.

They had previously denied the charges following the incident on May 12.

Wrexham Magistrates Court heard Durham, 24, had commented on the sexuality of a 16-year-old boy on the dancefloor which then escalated into an argument between the defendant and one of the victims, Cameron Halfpenny.

Mr Halfpenny told Durham to leave the boy alone but Matthew Ellis, prosecuting, claimed Durham then punched him in the face.

Mr Ellis said: “Jessica Jones also came outside where about 40 onlookers, including children, had gathered and seeing her partner being attacked she tried to break it up.

“Her bag fell on the floor and when she bent to pick it up she was assaulted by Lawlor who struck her over the head with her own handbag.”

Mr Halfpenny suffered a cut to the temple and Miss Jones had a half-inch gash on her head.

Durham also faced charges of obstructing and assaulting a police officer when police went to the couple’s home to arrest Lawlor, 27, later that night.

Five officers went to their home and Durham was subsequently arrested for blocking the stairwell, grabbing an officer by the shoulders and making as if to headbutt him. Officers used pepper spray to stop him, the court heard.

David Matthews, defending, said Durham was angry because Lawlor, who was only wearing her nightclothes, was led to the bedroom to collect what she had been wearing at the wedding.

“Mr Durham took issue with the fact that all five police officers were men and they were going upstairs with his girlfriend without a female officer in attendance.
“He felt this was inappropriate.”

Mr Matthews said Durham had been engaged in “banter” with the young lad but Mr Halfpenny did not like it and confronted him.

“He claimed his actions were in self defence but now accepts he shouldn’t have struck out,” he said.

“Miss Lawlor saw what was going on and went to stop it and she knows now she shouldn’t have hit Miss Jones over the head with her handbag.

“They both have respectable jobs and neither of them have been in trouble before.
“They sincerely regret the melee which then developed.”

Magistrates sentenced Durham to a 12 month community order with 100 hours unpaid work and ordered him to pay £250 compensation and costs, while charging Lawlor £565 in fines, compensation and costs.

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