Violence at Southam wedding leads to community sentence for man

A doorman suffered a dislocated knee and a cut to his head after violence marred what should have been a bride’s happiest day at a Southam wedding venue.

Friday, 22nd March 2019, 11:23 am
Updated Friday, 22nd March 2019, 11:46 am
Christopher Stroud

But after a judge at Warwick Crown Court accepted that wedding guest Christopher Stroud had not intended to cause the injuries, he escaped a prison sentence.

Stroud, whose partner was a bridesmaid at the wedding held at the Warwick House venue in Southam, pleaded guilty to charges of assault and inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Stroud, 29, of Mynydd Newydd Road, Penlan, Swansea, was given a 12-month community sentence and was ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work and to pay £500 compensation to his victim.

Christopher Stroud

Prosecutor Nigel Stelling said that on May 18 last year Stroud and his partner were among the guests at a wedding taking place at Warwick House.

“It’s not plain what had caused the friction and tension between elements of the bride’s family and the groom’s family, but the tension built and resulted in an altercation.”

Mr Stelling said it began off-camera, but then moved to the centre of the dancefloor where part of it was captured by a CCTV camera.

From the recording it was ‘clear there were a number of people acting unlawfully,’ but Stroud was the only person who was charged, although two women were given police cautions.

Christopher Stroud

Judge Anthony Potter observed: “It is clear that neither Mr Stroud nor his partner, who was a bridesmaid, were involved in the tension that built up.”

But matters were inflamed when the two women who have been given cautions started to assault Stroud’s partner, and as that situation escalated, Stroud assaulted another guest, Blake Barley.

Stroud then reacted aggressively towards security staff, and after being taken outside he pushed one of them, Niks Gurekis, who fell to the floor.

As a result, Mr Gurekis struck his head, causing a cut to the back of his head, and also suffered a dislocated knee.

Mr Stelling said that the police report suggested that Mr Gurekis had gas and air administered and was treated by medical staff when they arrived at the venue.

“But that was not the case, he relocated it himself when he came round, although there was injury to the ligaments.”

Judge Potter commented: “Knowing what I know about the assault on Mr Stroud’s partner, I can understand why that would impact on him, but it does not justify the way he behaved towards Mr Gurekis.”

Sentencing Stroud, the judge told him: “I am quite confident that when the bride was organising her wedding she did not seek the whole event descending into an orgy of violence.

“You played your part in initially becoming involved in violence in relation to one of the guests.

"Your partner being assaulted in front of you is bound to aggravate matters.

“I recognise you were not alone, and that there were some members of her husband’s family who are rather fortunate to have escaped standing where you are.

“Where you are really culpable is that you got involved again. Once members of security staff got involved, you should have had the sense to know the time had come not to continue to behave in a struggling fashion.

“You had to be carried out by two members of the security staff, and when you were placed back on your feet, you expressed your anger by taking it out on Mr Gurekis.

“I accept you did not intend to cause a gash to his head or to dislocate his knee, but you did. He was someone who was just doing his job.”