Wedding day ‘bloodbath’ brawl at posh hotel sees nine family members jailed

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    A couple’s wedding day was "ruined" after nine members of the same family were jailed for their parts in a 'bloodbath brawl' at the reception at a posh hotel.

    Michael Stokes, 56, dislocated his shoulder after throwing a chair during the 50-person melee that caused £18,000 worth of damage to the Daresbury Park Hotel in Cheshire.

    Eight members of his family have previously been jailed for their part in the violence, which saw some guests barricade themselves into a function room for safety.

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    John Stokes, 23, John Steven Stokes, 27, Stephen Stokes, 25, Brian Stokes, 25, and Edward Joseph Stokes, 21, were all jailed last month.

    They were sentenced after Thomas Stokes, 30, Edward William Stokes, 28, Terry Stokes, 36, were also jailed for their parts in the mayhem.

    Another relative, Edward Stokes, 50, who faced a lesser charge of threatening behaviour, was previously given a suspended sentence.

    Chester Crown Court heard how the brawl broke out at around 11.15pm on June 26, 2019 at the hotel and spa in Warrington.

    A barman said he saw three men arguing as he left to collect items from the main bar but when he returned, a huge fight between around 40 men had started.

    CCTV footage played in court showed glasses and chairs being hurled across the room, as well as displays being torn down and a sweet cart and tables being overturned.

    The footage also showed Stokes throwing chairs and more than ten glasses across the room.

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    The court heard how 'extensive' damage estimated to be worth around £16,000 was caused to the hotel, as well as damage of £2,400 to items belonging to the wedding planner.

    In addition to the damage, which the Stokes family have paid for, £300 of alcohol was stolen as glass was taken to be used as weapons.

    In a statement, the hotel manager said the incident was the 'worst he had ever seen in his career' as the dance floor and walls were covered in blood and glass.

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    The wedding planner also said that nine years of stock was destroyed, which impacted other weddings who wanted to hire out the items.

    The court heard how Stokes previously pleaded guilty to a charge of violent disorder.

    He also gave no replies during his police interview after initially claiming he was acting in self defence.

    Stokes has a previous conviction for the same charge of violent disorder in 2013, which he was jailed for two years. He also has previous convictions of dishonesty.

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    On the repeat of the violent disorder offence, Judge Simon Berkson remarked that Stokes has ‘clearly not learnt his lesson’.

    In defence of his client, Dafydd Roberts said that Stokes dislocated his shoulder during the violence and had to be treated in hospital.

    He said: "The cost of the damage has been repaid, but the defendant is aware of the sentences passed to others, who were not able to buy themselves out of a prison sentence.

    “His last conviction was in 2015 and has not been in trouble since then, so this is not an entrenched pattern of offending.”

    The barrister added that Stokes is a working man, whose employer speaks highly of him, and that his family will be impacted by his loss of earnings should he go to prison".

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