Court hears of ‘Wild West brawl’ where bystander was stabbed in neck

Durham Crown Court
Durham Crown Court

A MAN has stood trial accused of being involved in a “Wild West saloon brawl” at a £160-a-head event at a hotel.

Leon Morfitt, 31, of Owton Manor Lane, Hartlepool, had denied affray after an incident that involved several other people at the Lobster Festival, at Sedgefield’s Hardwick Hall Hotel.

Durham Crown Court heard that a bystander was stabbed in the neck by a member of a group at the April 27, 2012 event, though this person is still at large.

After a three-day trial, the jury was unable to reach a majority verdict on Morfitt.

It was adjourned until February 7 when a decision will be made whether he should face a re-trial. Two other town men, aged 29 and 48, involved in the scuffle admitted affray at an earlier hearing and will be sentenced after the outcome of proceedings against Morfitt and another man,

Stuart Bell, 46, of Front Street, Burnhope, denied affray but had a guilty plea to causing fear or provocation of violence accepted. He will be sentenced later.