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Murder trial hears how Cippenham pub's no-traveller policy sparked confrontation

A pub manager whose boyfriend was fatally stabbed in a brawl had beer chucked at her for operating a no-travellers policy, a jury has heard.

Jason Gardner, 43, who lived with his girlfriend Emma Mead, manager of the Long Barn pub, in Cippenham Lane, Cippenham, died after starting a fight in the Earl of Cornwall pub, also in Cippenham Lane, the trial at Reading Crown Court heard last week.

Mr Gardner entered the Earl of Cornwall with his face covered on the evening of Wednesday, May 9 and attacked Charlie Ward, 36, of Eltham Avenue, Cippenham, with a large torch, before being stabbed 41 times by Ward, the jury heard.

He died at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford the following day.

Ward’s father John Ward, 58, of Stoke Road, Slough, wrestled with Mr Gardner and kicked him, stamped on him and threw a table leg at him while he lay bleeding on the floor, the court was told.

The father and son both face a joint charge of murder and deny wrongdoing.

The court heard how Mr Gardner launched his assault after Charlie Ward threw a pint at Miss Mead at the Long Barn pub earlier that evening.

Miss Mead, who no longer manages the Long Barn, told the court today (Thursday) she refused to serve Charlie Ward’s wife Martina because she was wearing a dressing gown and no shoes and because she and her husband were shouting at each other.

The defence says, after hearing Ward’s Irish accent, she decided not to serve them, suspecting they were travellers.

Representing Charlie Ward, Peter Doyle said: “Suddenly the penny dropped with you.

“I suggest you said to yourself ‘I’ve got a pair of travellers here’, didn’t you?”

Miss Mead admitted the pub had a policy of not serving travellers because of ‘previous problems’.

Mr Doyle said: “What I suggest happened is that, having heard him and having seen how his wife was dressed, you told him that if you had known they were travellers you would never have served him in the first place.”

He said beer was thrown at her in retaliation for a ‘simple racist comment’.

Miss Mead denied making the comment and says Charlie Ward chucked his pint after he shouted ‘Serve my f****** wife’ and she refused.

After leaving the Long Barn, Charlie Ward talked to Mr Gardner outside and threatened to ‘slash’ Miss Mead’s face, according to her first police statement on Friday, May 11.

The jury heard Mr Gardner had taken cocaine and cannabis and had drank about six or seven pints of lager during the afternoon of May 9 before going upstairs at the Long Barn pub and drinking more cans of beer.

Mr Gardner had slashed Charlie Ward’s tyres before the attack, the jury heard.

The trial continues.

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