A PENZANCE couple has been cleared of breaking another man’s leg during a row at a town centre pub.
Peter George, 47, and Joyce Branwell, 57, were accused of unlawfully wounding Vivian Wills who was in the White Lion on September 29, last year, with a group of friends attending a school reunion.
During their trial, which started on Monday at Truro Crown Court, Sally Daulton, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said the couple both of Penlee Street, Penzance, were also in the pub when Mr Wills arrived at around 10pm that Branwell called Mr Wills over and struck up a conversation with him.
Ms Daulton said: “Mr Wills was an old friend of Miss Branwell’s son-in-law. That friendship had not been without difficulty.”
Ms Daulton described the conversation as mixed – at times the pair were laughing and joking but at times more tense.
She said at some point George became involved: “Mr George then went straight towards Mr Wills, grabbing at his throat and throwing punches at him.
“He pushed him on to the floor in a corner … Miss Branwell joined in scratching at his face and eyes.
“Mr Wills felt agonising pain in his leg as he fell and was shouting ‘stop, stop, you have broken my leg’.”
George was dragged off Mr Wills and the pair were removed from the pub.
Mr Wills was taken first to West Cornwall Hospital and then on to Royal Cornwall Hospital at Treliske where he spent six days.
He had a dislocated ankle and a fractured shin bone which was operated on.
Both defendants denied the charge and after the end of the prosecution case, Barrie Van den Berg, defending Branwell submitted that there was no case to answer in the case of his client because neither the witnesses nor the victim had suggested she pushed Mr Wills.
The judge agreed and a not guilty verdict was entered in her case.
The trial continued with George denying the charge. He told police that Mr Wills had hit him first and he was acting in self-defence.
Martin Pearce, defending George, described him as a gentle giant who abhorred violence.
After a short deliberation, the jury found him not guilty.