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Pitcher and Piano manager in shock over assault

By Kent and Sussex Courier  |  Posted: February 16, 2013

By Matthew Young matthew.young@courier.co.uk

  • Crowds of clubbers and emergency service vehicles when Pitcher and Piano in Tunbridge Wells was evacuated on Saturday night

  • Crowds of clubbers and emergency service vehicles when Pitcher and Piano in Tunbridge Wells was evacuated on Saturday night

  • Crowds of clubbers and emergency service vehicles when Pitcher and Piano in Tunbridge Wells was evacuated on Saturday night

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A TUNBRIDGE Wells nightspot was evacuated after a dance-floor fight sparked chaos.

The drama at Pitcher and Piano in the early hours of last Sunday resulted in four men being arrested, including a 25-year-old who was knocked unconscious.

Officers swarmed into the Church Road venue after reports of a fight on the dance-floor downstairs.

Club bosses said CCTV footage showed one man head butt another – who responded by knocking him unconscious with a single punch. Witnesses said he remained motionless for about ten minutes.

The man, from West Malling, was hospitalised overnight with a suspected broken nose and had pieces of his scalp glued back together. When he left hospital on Sunday he was arrested and cautioned for assault.

Witnesses said more fights broke out as police tried to deal with the incident.

The club's lights were turned on, the music went off and the building was evacuated at 12.20am in a joint decision by police and management, to make it safer for police to deal with the situation.

Pitcher and Piano general manager Shahpur Sherazi said: "I've been there 11 years and this is the first time this has happened and we're a large venue which holds a lot of people."

He refuted rumours a glass had been used as a weapon.

"Anything like that is a matter of concern to start with but it's very, very clear on the CCTV footage it was a one-punch knockout and no glass was used," he said.

He added that the number of people in the club was not a problem, as it was always carefully monitored. Police confirmed there had been no issue with the number of people inside.

One witness, whom the Courier agreed not to name, said: "He was on the floor and not getting up, and they turned the music off and the lights on and tried to manage it.

"There was a lot of blood – I think he banged his head on the floor.

"About ten minutes after that he was still knocked out – that's when the police and ambulance turned up.

"When police were trying to clear people out of the way that's when others got involved and more fighting started."

Four men were arrested in total with one, Ross Mills, 26, of Linnet Avenue in Paddock Wood, charged with assaulting a police officer. The officer received a minor injury and did not need to go to hospital. Mills will appear before Sevenoaks Magistrates' Court on March 6.

A 25-year-old man from Tonbridge was given a penalty notice for a public order offence, and a 24-year-old man from Tunbridge Wells was given a penalty notice for being drunk and disorderly.

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