THE FORMER landlord of a Scarborough bar yesterday admitted to the manslaughter of one of his customers.
David Bell, 51, formerly of St Thomas Street, entered a guilty plea at Leeds Crown Court.
The body of 36-year-old Scarborough graphic designer James Teasdale, of Mayville Avenue, was found in the cellar of Zest Bar, St Thomas Street, in the town centre, on July 14 last year.
Bell, who was wearing a black suit and blue tie, appeared nervous in the dock during the 20-minute hearing.
He entered not guilty pleas to three health and safety offences, but it was agreed that it was not in the public interest to pursue the charges given his guilty plea to the more serious allegation.
Peter Collier QC, the Recorder of Leeds, agreed to adjourn the case for a pre-sentence report to be prepared.
He said: “This is a very serious offence which involved a death. The judge will have to decide on the sentence.”
Bell, now of Park Road, Cambridge, will learn his fate on March 25 next month, in a sentencing hearing that is expected to last for around an hour.
He was released on bail but was told he must co-operate fully with the probation service and is forbidden from attempting to obtain foreign travel documents.
Simon Reevell, representing Bell, said he would be preparing a package of documents in preparation for the sentencing hearing, including character references.
He said: “This is a gross negligence manslaughter case. He is not just a man with no previous convictions but a man of previous good character.”
Mr Teasdale was last seen alive in Zest Bar on the evening of Sunday July 11.
It is believed that this was in the cellar of Zest until the following Wednesday, when a staff member made the discovery.
A forensic team subsequently sealed off the bar and conducted a thorough examination of the premises.
Bell was arrested the following Saturday and was released on police bail before he was charged in November.
Before his arrest, Bell told the Evening News: “It is obviously very tragic and like everyone else I am waiting to see the outcome of the police investigation.
“I was away from the premises when I got the call. The staff are obviously very upset, as am I.”