Pool player not guilty of GBH with pint glass in St Albans pub

The Great Northern pub, St Albans

The Great Northern pub, St Albans - Credit: Archant

A pool player who was taking too long over his game in a St Albans pub has been found not guilty of causing grievous bodily harm to a woman who also wanted to play.

Two years ago, Tracey Hewson, 47, had 17 stitches in hospital after being struck on the neck with a pint glass in the Great Northern pub, London Road, after she had complained that Mark Flanagan and his friend were taking too long to finish.

But he told the jury at St Albans Crown Court last week that he had hit her accidentally when she had confronted him and pushed the balls into the pool table pockets to end his game.

Mr Flanagan, 28, of Dellfield in St Albans, pleaded not guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent and not guilty to an alternative, lesser charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm. He was found not guilty of both charges.

Giving evidence behind a screen, Ms Hewson said she had gone to the pub with her boyfriend on November 9, 2013, to watch football on the TV, before deciding to play pool. She had put a pound on the table to indicate they wanted to play the next game.

She told the jury that while a game usually takes five or 10 minutes, Mr Flanagan and his friend appeared not to be playing and she had waited for 45 minutes.

Under cross examination by Andel Singh, for Mr Flanagan, Ms Hewson said she and her boyfriend had drunk four or five pints of Carlsberg in two other pubs before going to the Great Northern, where they had two or three more.

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She became annoyed that Mr Flanagan and his friend were time-wasting. Ms Hewson said: “I had already asked 20 or 30 minutes before and they said they would be ‘done in a minute’.”

Asked why she had not asked the barmaid to tell them to finish, she replied: “She was busy serving people.”

Ms Hewson told the jury she kicked out at Mr Flanagan and then thought he was going to slap her.

She said: “I turned away and then I felt blood running down my neck. I thought it was a slap.

“I looked down and there was blood dripping on the pool table.”

Ms Hewson was taken to Watford General Hospital where she had two shards of glass removed from her neck and received 17 stitches.

Asked by prosecutor Philip Levy about the long term effects of the injury, she said: “I have got a big scar on my neck. I get tingling - sometimes it feels like I have had ice cubes put on it. Psychologically, I am not the same person.”

Mr Levy said Mr Flanagan admitted flicking beer over Ms Hewson. When questioned, he told the police that when she kicked him in the stomach he raised his hand, which had a pint glass in it, in self defence.

In the witness box, he said he had drunk four or five pints in the pub, having been there since 1pm. Mr Flanagan explained that during his pool match the man he had been playing with had gone out for a smoke.

When Ms Hewson started putting balls down the pockets, he said: “She seemed like a crazy woman. I didn’t want to go over to her.”

Asked what he did when she went to kick him, he said: “I didn’t have time to think about the glass in my hand. I was being attacked.”

Mr Flanagan said the glassing had been an accident and he was acting in self defence.

• The Great Northern pub is under new management