Love triangle leads to ‘Wild West’ fracas outside Fence Gate

Burnley Crown Court
Burnley Crown Court
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TWO men involved in a love triangle attack sparked more violence which ended up with a “Wild West” fracas outside a pub, a court heard.

Barry Dugdale (43) and Nicholas Gallagher (30) assaulted Mark Ellis, who was said to have had an affair with Dugdale’s wife.

Other trouble then erupted outside the Fence Gate Inn in Fence, where all parties had gone to watch a musical tribute act, Burnley Crown Court heard.

Dugdale had gone to shake the victim’s hand, but clasped it with both hands and would npt let go. Gallagher then punched the victim in the face and he lost his balance and was knocked over a wall. Gallagher also went to the ground. Mr Ellis was then assaulted by both defendants and was punched repeatedly. He suffered an injury to his nose which needed surgery.

Dugdale, of Woodend Road, Reedley, and Gallagher, of Nelson Road, Briercliffe, had earlier admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm, in November 2009. Both were given 20 weeks in prison, suspended for a year. Dugdale was ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work and his co-defendant must do 50 hours. Gallagher was ordered to pay £500 compensation and £250 costs and Dugdale, a welder, must pay £250 compensation.

Sentencing the duo, Recorder M.P. Willems told them that, whatever the background, there was no justification for the violence.

The judge said the fracas led to disorder on a large scale involving many people and must have been “incredibly scary”.

He continued: “It must have looked like a scene from a Wild West movie, but it wasn’t fake blood, it was real blood.”

Damian Nolan (prosecuting) said the Dugdale and Ellis families had fallen out seven months prior to the offence.

Both parties were at the Fence Gate and their tables were close to each other. At the end of the evening, Mr Ellis left the pub and was trying to get a taxi home. He was approached by Dugdale who held out his hand, Mr Ellis took hold of it to shake it and trouble started.

Mr Nolan said that, after the victim was punched on the ground, he noticed his son on the ground nearby, tried to help him and was attacked himself. He was hit, but was able to get up and make his way across the car park. He was dazed, bruised and bleeding. Gallagher appeared to want to continue to fight.

When officers arrived, both defendants got into a taxi. Officers went to speak to them. Dugdale gave a false name and date of birth but did later answer questions. Gallagher refused to answer any questions.

Martin Hackett (defending Dugdale) said his client had suffered a stroke and was blind in one eye. He said Dugdale’s behaviour was out of character.

Hugh Barton (defending Gallagher) said the defendant was shocked and appalled at his behaviour that night. The barrister added: “He is in all respects a very positive member of the community.”