'Shocking' | 

Antrim man among 8 jailed over ‘bloodbath’ wedding brawl that caused €20k damage

Up to 50 wedding guests were involved in the clash at the Daresbury Park Hotel, Warrington, Cheshire in June 2019, which saw the men throw tables, chairs, and glass at each other.

A total of eight men have been jailed in relation to the brawl. Photo: Cheshire Constabulary

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

Five more men have been jailed in the UK after causing more than £18,000 (€20,500) worth of damage during a violent brawl at a wedding reception in a luxury hotel.

Up to 50 wedding guests were involved in the clash at the Daresbury Park Hotel, Warrington, Cheshire in June 2019, which saw the men throw tables, chairs, and glass at each other.

The violence became so aggressive that some guests reportedly barricaded themselves into a function room before police, including armed officers, arrived to restore order at the venue.

John Steven Stokes (27), Stephen Stokes (25), Brian Stokes (25), John Stokes (23), and Edward Joseph Stokes (21) were all jailed last week for their part in the huge fight.

Three family members were also jailed two days prior, while a fourth was handed a suspended prison sentence.

The gruesome aftermath of the incident has been highlighted by the Cheshire Constabulary in newly released mugshots, which show blood dripping from one man's eyes, while cuts and bruises are visible on others’ faces.

Judge Simon Berkson described the incident as a “bloodbath” at Cheshire Crown Court last Monday, with CCTV footage revealing that staff members and children were present as the fight broke out and escalated.

Prosecutor Robert Philpotts explained that by 11pm on June 26, 2019, the wedding reception was in full swing with approximately 150 people in the hotel’s first floor function room.

But just fifteen minutes later, a barman saw three men arguing as he left to collect items from the main bar and when he returned, a huge fight between some 40 men had broken out.

Dozens of police officers were called to the scene and around 30 police cars flooded to the venue at around 11.35pm to contain the conflict.

But after glass was thrown at them as they entered the function, they retreated to the reception area and requested assistance from an armed unit.

The brawl only ceased when the men were finally detained by police.

Judge Simon Berkson told Chester Crown Court that the disorder was “truly shocking” for those in attendance and overshadowed what should have been a “happy occasion” for the bride and groom.

“The events of that day were truly shocking to anyone who saw them... For those present and innocent, one can only imagine the fear,” he said.

“What should have been a happy occasion, a wedding, turned into a bloodbath.

“The suite was set up for a celebration, with a DJ playing music, people dancing and enjoying themselves. This came to an end when violence broke out.”

However, despite the violent scenes, only three people were taken to Warrington Hospital with minor injuries.

The court heard more than £16,000 (€18,300) worth of “extensive” damage was caused to the hotel while £2,400 (€2,700) damage was caused to items belonging to the wedding planner.

An additional £300 (€340) worth of alcohol was stolen and glass was taken for weapons.

In a statement, the hotel manager said the incident was the worst he had seen in his career, with blood and glass covering the dancefloor and walls.

Last Wednesday, John Stokes, of Antrim, was jailed for 16 months while John Steven Stokes, of Crewe, Cheshire, was sentenced to 21 months' imprisonment.

Stephen Stokes, of Fairfield and Howley, was jailed for 20 months and Brian Stokes, of Crewe, was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment.

They were sentenced alongside Edward Joseph Stokes, also of Crewe, who was jailed for 18 months.

On Monday, Edward William Stokes, of Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, was jailed for 27 months.

Thomas Stokes, also of Milton Keynes, was sentenced to 25 months in prison while Terry Stokes, of Winsford, Cheshire, was jailed for 21 months.

Edward Stokes, of Crewe, was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work.

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