Former police officer denies being 'aggressor' in Walsall town centre pub fight

An off-duty police officer accused of fighting in Walsall town centre told a jury he was trying to protect his family.

Wolverhampton Crown Court
Wolverhampton Crown Court

Aaron Richardson, 44, is on trial for affray in relation to him allegedly exchanging blows with two men called Anthony Hines and Wayne Jones, in Darwall Street, on November 22, 2019.

Giving evidence at Wolverhampton Crown Court the now retired officer denied being the "aggressor" during the incident which happened while he and members of his family were visiting a bar.

He said he and Mr Hines, a relative of his ex-partner, had been involved in a altercation some years previously and that he felt he had taken a dislike to him due to him being a police officer at the time.

The jury heard that the now retired officer and members of his family had been inside The Registry, in Leicester Street, when there was an alleged altercation between his son Bradley, 22, which then escalated into a confrontation and then a fight outside in the street.

Richardson told the jury: "He approached saying he wants Bradley. I kept asking him why he wanted my son. I genuinely had no idea why he was saying these things. It came as a shock to me.

"I believe that he was drunk and was taking illegal substances. He was foaming at the mouth and growling.

"He continued to shout and making threats. I told my partner Kay to call the police because I knew there was a police base 100 yards away in the civic centre."

"At that point I genuinely feared for my safety and my family's safety.

"He wasn't acting rationally as a normal person would have done."

The defendant, a former Walsall town centre beat officer, denied removing the hooded top he was wearing in an act of aggression. He said he "instinctively" removed it as he knew from his force training that clothing could be "used against you".

Cross examining him, prosecutor barrister Miss Aimee Parkes, said: "You had clenched fists."

"I suggest that you were the one who goes for Mr Jones and Mr Hines at that point. You wanted to attack them."

The defendant replied: "No. He is beating me." He added that Mr Hines, who was filmed bare-chested, had threatened to stab him and that he had tried to arrest him.

The jury was shown footage of the incident that was captured on closed circuit cameras.

Richardson, of Bell Tower Close, Blakenall, Walsall, denies affray.

At the hearing on Wednesday, Judge Jonathan Gosling directed the jury to find Bradley Richardson, of Honeybourne Way, Willenhall, not guilty of affray, due to insufficient evidence against him relating to the same incident. Bradley Richardson had denied the allegation.

The trial continues.

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