Pub attack yobs leave Samaritan maimed

A GOOD Samaritan who was savagely beaten during a "Wild West" rampage by six drunken yobs has revealed how the terrifying ordeal has left her maimed for life.

Hairdresser Lorraine Venning, 46, had been in the Royal Oak pub in Pateley Bridge, near Harrogate, for a friend's 40th birthday party dressed as a pirate when the drunken gang began attacking the landlord and customers.

She stepped in to try and stop the violence but was punched – leaving her with injuries which have "turned her world upside down".

The divorced mother-of-three, who lives in Pateley Bridge and prided herself on her independence and caring for her children before the unprovoked assault, revealed she is now a shadow of her former self and her "children have lost their mother".

The punch left her totally deaf in her left ear, fractured several teeth, injured her ankle when she fell and has left her withdrawn, scared, and diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Her brain injuries mean she had to re-learn everyday life skills, such as reading or making a cup of tea.

Mrs Venning said: "Due to this incident, my children have lost their mother. I am weak and unable to care for them. It is me who now needs help and support.

"I'm scared, I don't think I'll ever go somewhere where there's a group of people drinking again. For my birthday I went for a meal in a quiet restaurant and it was still scary.

"It's affected my concentration, I can't sleep and I have terrible nightmares.

"I used to be independent, I was mum and dad to my three kids. I fixed the car, I did DIY, I did gardening, I did everything. I can't do that now, I am a different mum. My life has been ruined, all because I went to help somebody," she said.

She revealed how she had originally not wanted to go out on the fateful evening of May 2 last year, as she was giving her three children a lift to the cinema early the next morning.

But after her teenage daughter had helped her with her costume and hair extensions, she went to meet her friends in the pub.

"I was in the wrong place at the wrong time," she said, adding she "had been affected in every way" by the savage attack. She has had two seizures since, and suffers from ligyrophobia – a fear of loud noises – and basiphobia, which is a fear of walking.

Mrs Venning still has visible facial injuries, pain in her ankles, inner ear problems and double vision.

She also suffers from fatigue, depression, paranoia and anxiety since the attack.

She said: "This has changed my life forever, all because a few lads got drunk. I have already served 20 months of my sentence."

York Crown Court heard on Wednesday that the group of thugs attacked the pub landlord and his customers, leaving nine people injured as a fancy dress birthday party degenerated into a scene of "Wild West" carnage.

Six Doncaster men had been drinking heavily after a fishing trip when one of the group sexually assaulted two young women. The court heard that this caused a dance floor brawl which led to a male victim of the violence losing the sight in one of his eyes.

Sentencing the six defendants at York Crown Court, Judge Stephen Ashurst said: "It is rare for the casualty list to be as extensive as this. The violence was really quite, quite dreadful. It was prolonged and vicious. If groups like you cause mayhem and ruin people's lives you must take the consequences."

Nick Worsley, prosecuting, told how landlord Robert Jackson ordered everyone to leave his pub at about 12.50am as things got out of hand. Mr Worsley told the court that witnesses described the scene as "mayhem" and "like something from the Wild West". He added: "Outside one of the group then gave a howl, a war cry, and began to attack people. Robert Jackson was kicked and punched."

It was then that Mrs Venning tried to stop the violence by pleading with the thugs to stop attacking the landlord – but they then turned on her.

A 999 caller raised the alarm while the men were attacking other women in the street – although the arriving ambulance had to wait for a police escort for the paramedics. One man was arrested at the scene and the rest at their bed and breakfast the next morning.

Bar turned into 'battle zone'

The gang – boxer Ricky Ellery, 25, Gavin Poole, 18, Dean MacAllister, 28, Lewis Curry, 21, Dean Wilkes, 24, and Nathan Bridges, 21 – were jailed for transforming a pub into a "combat zone" that left Pateley Bridge looking "like a bulldozer had driven through it", York Crown Court heard.

Ellery was convicted last month of violent disorder, while the other five admitted the same charge at an earlier hearing. Poole also admitted two sex offences.

Ellery was jailed for 45 months, Poole for three years, MacAllister and Curry for 24 months. Bridges got 33 months. Wilkes, jailed for four years in October for an unrelated drugs offence, had a year added. Poole, Bridges, Wilkes and Ellery all have previous assault convictions.