Man­ager al­leges she was stran­gled at party

South Wales Echo - - News - JES­SICA WAL­FORD Re­porter jes­sica.wal­ford@waleson­

THE man­ager of a pop­u­lar Cardiff bar was stran­gled un­til she passed out by a col­league at a work Christ­mas party, a tri­bunal has heard.

Molly Phillips al­leges she was left with a head in­jury af­ter Cameo Club chef Nathan Webb gripped her around the neck un­til she lost con­scious­ness then dropped her to the ground.

She claims she was checked for a sus­pected stroke and left with fa­cial paral­y­sis fol­low­ing the al­leged in­ci­dent at the venue, in Well­field Road, Roath, on Jan­uary 1 this year.

Miss Phillips has now brought an un­fair dis­missal claim against her for­mer em­ployer Pont­canna Pub Com­pany Ltd, say­ing she felt un­safe work­ing with her al­leged at­tacker and had to re­sign.

Dur­ing the em­ploy­ment tri­bunal hear­ing at Cardiff Mag­is­trates’ Court, she claimed Mr Webb had stran­gled her but ad­mit­ted she did not re­mem­ber the events of the night.

She was taken to the Univer­sity Hospi­tal of Wales but later sent home, the hear­ing was told.

The next day, af­ter she sent a photo to her mum of her with a slop­ing mouth, she went back to hospi­tal af­ter see­ing her GP and had a 17-and-a-half-hour wait in A&E.

In a state­ment, Miss Phillips said: “I was checked for a sus­pected stroke, Bell’s palsy, and other tests were done but all of th­ese were ruled out.”

Days later, she said in a state­ment to the tri­bunal, she checked CCTV footage from the club out of “pure cu­rios­ity”.

“It wasn’t un­til I watched prop­erly that I re­alised what had hap­pened – Nathan Webb puts his arms around my neck, pulls it tighter with his fists clenched, and de­spite my try­ing to push him off me, he doesn’t let go,” she al­leged.

Days later, she said, she told one of the com­pany di­rec­tors at a meet­ing at her work­place about the in­ci­dent.

Miss Phillips said she told di­rec­tor Ja­son Pearce about the in­ci­dent.

She claimed he re­sponded by jok­ing with Mr Webb as he walked past, say­ing some­thing along the lines of: “All right buddy? Hear you’ve been chok­ing girls lately.’”

Mr Pearce said dur­ing the hear­ing he “didn’t think it was as se­ri­ous as it was” but he had made the com­ment.

In his state­ment, he said he told Miss Phillips he wanted to speak to Mr Webb but she said she was “fine” and was “adamant” she didn’t want any­thing done.

She later spoke to an­other di­rec­tor, Huw Davies, who had been on hol­i­day af­ter the in­ci­dent, who asked if she wanted any­thing to hap­pen. She told him she didn’t as she was in the process of buy­ing a house and needed to make sure her em­ploy­ment was se­cure.

Miss Phillips told the hear­ing that months later, af­ter other al­leged be­hav­iour by Mr Webb to­wards other staff in­clud­ing putting chilli in a staff mem­ber’s soup and threat­en­ing some­one on a night out, she told her em­ploy­ers she had be­gun lose faith in their abil­ity “to keep her safe in her work­place”.

She had also just been told by medics she may not re­cover from the in­ci­dent on New Year’s Day, Miss Phillips said.

She told Mr Davies at a meet­ing on March 19 that she would be go­ing to the po­lice about the Jan­uary in­ci­dent.

Mr Webb was ar­rested on May 8. At the March meet­ing Mr Davies said he “sym­pa­thised” with Miss Phillips and “didn’t dis­cour­age her”.

But he said he raised con­cerns about medics giv­ing her a “con­clu­sive di­ag­no­sis”.

By March 24 she said she was “find­ing it hard to come into work and was cry­ing both be­fore and dur­ing my shifts”.

Mr Davies told the hear­ing: “At no point did Molly state she was scared of Nathan.”

He added it would be “dif­fi­cult to in­ves­ti­gate, dis­miss or dis­ci­pline Nathan af­ter so much time had passed” and said he sug­gested she change her shifts, which she did.

Miss Phillips went on hol­i­day but when she came back was signed off work with stress. She said af­ter look­ing on­line on May 2, she saw a job ad­vert for a man­ager at the club.

“Straight away I mes­saged the man­ager, An­toine, to ask about it, and af­ter avoid­ing the ques­tion for a while, he even­tu­ally in­formed me that Huw wants three man­agers, and has al­ways wanted three man­agers, but that my job was safe,” she said.

A fol­low-up griev­ance meet­ing was ar­ranged for May 16 but Miss Phillips’ was not up­held. The same day Miss Phillips handed in her res­ig­na­tion.

In his state­ment, Mr Pearce said: “I do not see how Molly can com­plain that no ac­tion was taken when she did not want any ac­tion to be taken and this was de­spite the fact I had sug­gested that I speak to Nathan.”

Mr Webb re­mains em­ployed as a chef at Cameo Club, the tri­bunal heard.

Judge Ali­son Frazer re­served judge­ment to make her find­ings.

The Cameo Club on Well­field Road

Ja­son Pearce

Huw Davies

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