Teen guilty of attack at St Albans wedding venue

PUBLISHED: 12:01 05 November 2009 | UPDATED: 14:39 06 May 2010

Sopwell House in St Albans

Sopwell House in St Albans

A TEENAGER has been convicted of launching a ferocious attack on a wedding photographer during celebrations at a luxury four-star hotel. Charles Lovelock, 19, was found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm in the incident at Sopwell House Hotel by a jur

A TEENAGER has been convicted of launching a ferocious attack on a wedding photographer during celebrations at a luxury four-star hotel.

Charles Lovelock, 19, was found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm in the incident at Sopwell House Hotel by a jury at St Albans Crown Court on Tuesday (November 3).

His victim, photographer and DJ Stephen Stacey, suffered serious injuries in the attack outside the St Albans hotel last year and was left needing an operation to remove a hernia.

The court heard that Mr Stacey went outside to smoke a cigarette at around 11.15pm on September 19 having been taking photos of the family at the wedding celebrations.

But drunken Lovelock, who pleaded not guilty to the allegations, attacked him.

As reported by the Herts Advertiser at the time, his victim was found lying seriously injured in bushes outside the hotel.

Prosecutor Rebecca Crane said that two separate witnesses had seen a scuffle between the two men and that Lovelock hit and kicked Mr Stacey in the body and the face.

Giving evidence, wedding planner Emma Lovelock, who is no relation, said: "I was coming out of the wedding suite to the toilet area. I saw movement and a couple of bodies. I just saw two bodies fly into the bushes. One man started walking back to the function and the other man was still in the bushes, groaning."

She identified the man walking back into the hotel as Lovelock and said he looked "triumphant" following the violent attack.

Mrs Lovelock continued: "He had a strange look on his face. The only way I can describe it is he looked triumphant. There was a gesture, a raising of hands or something."

Concerned at what may have happened, Mrs Lovelock and a relative approached the bushes where they found Mr Stacey, who was still clutching his camera. She said: "He had blood on his face, but it was dark and I didn't realise the true extent of his injuries."

Mr Stacey was taken to hospital and his attacker was arrested the following morning when Mrs Lovelock identified him as the wedding party ate breakfast at the hotel.

His room was subsequently searched and blood containing the DNA of Mr Stacey was found on his clothes, bed sheets and shoes.

The jury were shown photographs of Mr Stacey's injuries immediately after the attack and seven months on. The pictures taken in May this year show a large lump protruding from his stomach and Miss Crane explained that he had had to undergo an operation to remove a hernia and was left in considerable pain, all as a result of the attack.

Lovelock, of Triggs Avenue, Stevenage, will be sentenced at a later date but Judge Stephen Warner indicated that a custodial sentence would be imposed.

After the hearing Detective Inspector Peter Fulham said: "This assault was an unprovoked attack on a man who was working in his capacity as a DJ and photographer at a wedding reception.

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