Landlords’ shock after violent homophobic attack at Norwich pub

Kings landlord Jesse Charlebois was assaulted by a gang of men who came into his Norwich pub.
PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY Kings landlord Jesse Charlebois was assaulted by a gang of men who came into his Norwich pub. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Monday, December 23, 2013
10:41 PM

The landlords of a Norwich pub vowed to not let homophobic thugs drive them out of their business after they were victims of a frightening attack.

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Kings landlord Jesse Charlebois was assaulted by a gang of men who came into his Norwich pub.
PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAYKings landlord Jesse Charlebois was assaulted by a gang of men who came into his Norwich pub. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Jesse Charlebois and David Hayes were punched and kicked by the gang of 15 men after they asked them to leave the Kings pub on Saturday evening.

The landlords were subjected to homophobic abuse and suffered scratches, bruises and concussion as a result of the attack that happened at the venue in King Street, off Prince of Wales Road, at about 5.30pm.

Detectives have launched an investigation and are appealing for the public’s help following the disturbance, which involved a group of men who were white and believed to be aged in their 20s and 30s. No arrests have yet been made, but their faces were captured on CCTV.

The couple, who have run the pub for the last four months, said they had never experienced such violence after years of running pubs in London.

The venue only had a handful of customers when the group entered on Saturday and the landlords said the men were already drunk and loud. When they started throwing items around, they asked them to leave. However, they refused to move and started shouting abuse.

Mr Charlebois, 34, was punched in the head several times and had a scan at hospital for a suspected broken cheekbone. Mr Hayes, 26, suffered bruises and concussion and was grabbed by the hair by one of the attackers. Their chef, Andy Watt, was bitten on the hand and suffered concussion.

Mr Charlebois said he feared that he had been scarred for life after the right side of his face was badly scratched.

“We really hope they catch them and if they catch them, I want them put away. This is a hate crime and this is our business and home.”

“We are not going to let morons think they have won. I have run pubs in Hackney in the murder mile and nothing like this has happened. If it had happened four hours later, there would have been 100 police men on the corner. Everyone was shocked by it,” he said.

Mr Hayes added that the men targeted them after realising they were gay. He added that the attack lasted about 15 minutes.

“It could have been so much worse and he [Mr Charlebois] had many punches in the head. None of them ran away and they were quite proud about what they achieved,” he said.

Police have made an appeal for information from anyone who witnessed the attack or anyone who may have seen the group of men either before or after the incident.

Norfolk Police had extra officers on the streets of Norwich at the weekend, which was a busy party period ahead of the Christmas holidays.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Norwich CID on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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