Wedding bash: traveller wedding descends into mass brawl

October 6, 2010 | by | 0 Comments

A traveller wedding descended into a mass brawl in which the bridegroom’s father was knocked unconscious, a court heard.

More than 100 friends and family members gathered to celebrate the marriage of Jeanie Down and Nicholas Howe Jnr, 25.

But tensions boiled over when the bride’s cousin Ben Tobin was confronted in the toilets before having his head smashed against a wall.

He was then dragged into the wedding ceremony before being punched and beaten in front of the horrified bride and groom – who have since split up – on June 6 last year.

Relatives tried to intervene before the incident descended into chaos and the bridegroom’s father, Nicholas Howe Snr, was punched unconscious in the ensuing melee.

Three members of the Down family, of Woodhill Lane Caravan Park, East Challow, Oxon, were sentenced at Oxford Crown Court on Monday, having admitted ten offences between them.

Judge Christopher Compston said: ”I am quite certain we do not have the whole truth of the matter.

”There is considerable muddle and confusion and it may well be other members of the Down family were involved.”

The court heard there had been simmering tensions between the two traveller families in the months leading up to the wedding.

But they boiled over at the ceremony, which took place at East Challow Royal British Legion club last year.

Alfie Down, 45, was given a four-month prison sentence, suspended for two years and and 60 hours unpaid work after admitting assault causing actual bodily harm.

Steven Down, 43, was handed a six-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and 100 hours unpaid work for assault causing bodily harm.

Jimmy Down, 23, – the brother of the bride – was given a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and told to do 70 extra hours unpaid work for affray and assault causing bodily harm.

He had already been given 140 hours unpaid work in July, having admitted assault causing bodily harm to Alex Howe on March 13, 2009.

All three were given a one-year restraining order from five members of the Howe family and told to pay £300 costs each.

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