03:32PM, Monday 14 January 2019
A father and son from Slough have been convicted for the death of a 43-year-old man who was stabbed 41 times in a brutal pub brawl in Cippenham.
Charlie Joseph Ward, 36, of Eltham Avenue was convicted of murder and possession of an offensive weapon by unanimous verdict at Reading Crown Court today (Monday) following a trial which started on November 26.
His father, John Ward, 58, of Stoke Road, Slough was found not guilty of murder but was convicted of manslaughter by unanimous verdict.
At about 11.30pm on Wednesday May 9, last year, a fight broke out between Charlie and John Ward and Jason Gardner at the Earl of Cornwall pub in Cippenham Lane.
Earlier that evening at the Long Barn pub, also in Cippenham Lane, Charlie Ward threw a pint at Mr Gardner’s girlfriend Emma Mead for refusing to serve him and his wife Martina Ward.
The trial heard how Mr Gardner plotted an attack in response to the incident, taping over his van’s registration plate, putting on a balaclava and charging at Charlie Ward and hitting him with a metal torch.
During the assault, Charlie Ward drew for a knife and stabbed and slashed Mr Gardner 41 times to his body and head, the court heard.
CCTV footage viewed in court showed John Ward wresting Mr Gardner during the fight and kicking and stamping on him as he lay bleeding on the carpet.
He can also be seen removing a table leg with his bare hands and throwing it at Mr Gardner, who was taken to hospital where he subsequently died.
Charlie and John Ward were both arrested and subsequently charged on May 12 with Mr Gardner’s murder.
Senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Andy Shearwood, of Thames Valley Police’s Major Crime Unit, said: “The defence of Charlie and John Ward argued that they acted in self-defence following an altercation at the Earl of Cornwall public house.
“Our belief was always that the actions of Charlie Ward went far beyond that of self-defence, as Mr Gardner had multiple stab and slash wounds inflicted upon him.
“The level of violence used towards Mr Gardner was completely unacceptable, and, given the injuries Mr Gardner sustained, a murder investigation was launched.
“Charlie Ward had in his possession a knife, and he embarked on a ferocious assault on Mr Gardner which resulted in fatal injuries.
“This was a wholly unnecessary death, and the guilty verdicts to a count of murder and manslaughter is completely appropriate in these circumstances.
“Charlie Ward had ample opportunity to cease his attack on Mr Gardner, but chose to continue, leading to his death.
“Although Charlie Ward was the main aggressor, the jury agreed that his father John also contributed to Mr Gardner’s death. Both will now serve significant prison sentences as a result.
“This case highlights the dangers of carrying knives or other bladed articles in a public place.
“Because of Charlie Ward’s actions, a man lost his life.
“There can only be one reason for carrying such weapons, and that is to have an intent to use them, the consequences of such decisions can have far-reaching and tragic effects on many people.
“Thames Valley Police will never tolerate violence and crimes of this nature and will deal with offenders robustly and bring them to justice.”
The pair are due to be sentenced at Reading Crown Court tomorrow.
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