Pool row in St Albans pub ends in ‘glassing’ of woman’s neck

The Great Northern pub, St Albans

The Great Northern pub, St Albans - Credit: Archant

A St Albans pub patron suffered a permanent scar after being “glassed” in the neck in a row over a game of pool, a jury has heard.

Tracey Hewson, 47, was struck on the neck with a pint glass in the Great Northern pub, London Road, after she had complained that Mark Flanagan and a friend were taking too long to finish their game.

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

At St Albans Crown Court yesterday (Thursday), the jury was told that, having waited 45 minutes to use the table, Ms Hewson became annoyed and pushed the balls into the men’s pockets to end their game.

Giving evidence from behind a screen, she said Mr Flanagan was verbally abusive and that she believed he was going to hit her. Ms Hewson said she kicked out at him and then thought he was going to slap her.

She added: “I turned away and then I felt blood running down my neck. I thought it was a slap. I just saw a hand come across.

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

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Ms Hewson said she shouted for her boyfriend Phil Rush to call an ambulance. She 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 replied: “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.”

Ms Hewson said she had gone to the pub - which is since under new ownership - with her boyfriend on November 9, 2013, to watch football on the TV before deciding to play pool.

She had put a pound coin on the table to indicate they wanted to play the next game.

Ms Hewson told the jury that a game usually takes five or 10 minutes, but Mr Flanagan and his friend were not 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.

She was annoyed that Mr Flanagan and his friend were time-wasting, adding: “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, Ms Hewson replied: “She was busy serving people.”

Denying she was “hell bent” on removing the balls from the table, she said she was not “angry and agitated”.

The prosecutor said Mr Flanagan admitted flicking beer over Ms Hewson. When questioned, he had 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.

Mr Levy said: “He says he acted in self defence. The crown say he is very lucky not to be facing a more serious charge.”

Case proceeding.