Man escapes jail after breaking Whitby barman's ribs in pub attack

A Whitby barman suffered broken ribs after being dragged along the street by an aggrieved pub-goer who was angry that he’d been moved to another table, a court heard.

Monday, 8th November 2021, 9:51 am
Updated Monday, 8th November 2021, 9:54 am

Violence flared after the bar worker infuriated Ryan Chilton, 35, simply by asking him to move to another part of the pub due to tables being pre-booked and social-distancing rules, prosecutor Kelly Sherif told York Crown Court.

After a verbal exchange at The Little Angel in Flowergate, the argument spilled out into the lobby where Chilton grabbed the named barman by the throat and pinned him against a wall.

He then dragged him along the street in front of horrified bystanders.

Sign up to our daily The Scarborough News Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

York Crown Court

The victim was taken to hospital with serious injuries including broken ribs, an injury to his chest wall, grazing and bruising to his shoulder.

Chilton was arrested near the pub and appeared for sentence on Friday after admitting assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Ms Sherif said the incident, at about 9pm on September 14 last year, had been sparked by the table row but Chilton, who had been drinking in the pub for several hours, was already at a low ebb following the death of his grandmother whose ashes he had just scattered in Whitby.

When first asked to move to another table, Chilton did as requested, but he was then asked to move to another one because that had also been pre-booked.

Chilton ended up in a cordoned-off area due to Covid social-distancing regulations.

The barman told him he couldn’t sit there and asked him to move again.

Chilton was “not happy” and refused to budge, prompting the barman to ask him to leave the pub.

Chilton refused and the barman took a picture of him to put on Pub Watch.

Chilton walked towards the lobby where he suddenly lunged at the barman, “grabbing him by the throat and pinning him against the wall”.

As he was being throttled, the barman took a swing at Chilton “to loosen his grip” which missed, but it unbalanced Chilton who was then pushed out of the pub.

Chilton then grabbed the barman and took him to ground “by the throat” and “dragged him around”on the Tarmac.

He then walked off but was arrested near the pub.

Chilton, a self-employed joiner of Rylands Avenue, Bingley, near Bradford, told police he had been “feeling emotional following the scattering of his nan’s ashes the previous day”.

He said he had drunk about 10 pints, which left him “quite fresh”.

The victim said he already suffered from anxiety and depression before the attack which had caused him “more problems”.

He tried to return to work as soon as his injuries healed but his anxiety was “through the roof” and he was forced to take more time off.

He was put on medication including anti-anxiety tablets.

Stephen Munro, mitigating, said Chilton had been diagnosed with depression which had dogged him for years.

He was now on medication after consultation with a psychiatrist.

He said that when he went to the pub, Chilton was in a “bad state emotionally and wasn’t in the right frame of mind”.

He was remorseful for his actions.

Judge Sean Morris said Chilton’s guilt for the “unpleasant” attack was lessened by his diagnosis and a doctor’s conformation that he was experiencing a “psychotic episode” at the time.

He told Chilton: “Having had a bereavement and spreading your grandmother’s ashes in Whitby, you hit the booze and that no doubt contributed to it.”

Mr Morris said that due to these mitigating factors, he could suspend the inevitable jail sentence.

The six-month sentence was suspended for 18 months but Chilton, who earned a good living, was ordered to pay the victim £1,200 compensation.

He was also ordered to carry out 150 hours’ unpaid work and complete 15 days of rehabilitation activity.