Man cleared of attempted murder in pub car park
A man accused of a repeated stabbing outside an Ashford pub which left the victim fighting for his life has been cleared of attempted murder.
Paul Bristow was also acquitted of an alternative charge of wounding with intent after the jury deliberated for just 90 minutes.
The 25-year-old, of Chilmington Green, Great Chart, admitted being at The Rose Inn at Kennington that evening but denied knifing Darran Bean.
The 47-year-old scaffolder suffered five stab wounds to his chest, one of which penetrated and cut his heart.
He spent a month in intensive care and only survived because of the skill of medical staff.
Maidstone Crown Court heard the weapon was never found.
The stabbing happened in a CCTV “blind spot” of the Faversham Road, Kennington pub on October 2 last year.
It was busy with a group of travellers “wetting a baby’s head”. Mr Bean was drinking with colleagues. They were all drinking amiably.
However, the atmosphere changed when Mr Bristow and his friend James Fuller arrived at about 11.20pm.
Prosecutor Andrew Espley said although there was a history of bad blood between Mr Bean and Mr Bristow’s family members, there was no ill-feeling between them personally.
Other customers sensed friction between Mr Bristow, his friend and the celebrating travellers. Just before midnight Mr Fuller was ordered to leave by staff and Mr Bristow followed.
Mr Espley said Mr Bristow invited Mr Bean outside for a fight.
The two men exchanged punches in the car park, hitting each other to the head. Then, Mr Bean realised he had been stabbed.
He staggered back into the pub where the landlady, Sara Jones, used tea towels to stem the blood. Others also went to his aid. The next thing he remembered was waking up in hospital.
He had been given vital first aid by staff and drinkers at bar as he went into cardiac arrest.
Five paramedics then treated him on the pub floor before he was taken first to William Harvey Hospital in Ashford and then to London’s King’s College Hospital where he underwent open heart surgery.
Mr Espley said after the violence the car Mr Bristow had been travelling in was cleaned and his Facebook account was deleted by October 12.
After the verdicts, Mr Bristow was due to be released from custody.
Judge Jeremy Carey told jurors: “This case was well investigated and well presented. You have reached according to the evidence just verdicts, so that is what we expect.”
Landlady Sara and Dave helped Darran Bean after the attack outside her pub
Police outside The Rose Inn after the attack
Judge Jeremy Carey