Teddington pub shut after mass brawl ends in murder inquiry

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Closure: The Royal Oak will re-open with new security measures Closure: The Royal Oak will re-open with new security measures

A pub where the mass brawl was alleged to have broken out has been temporarily shut down.

Richmond Council decided to suspend the licence for the Royal Oak pub, in Teddington High Street, so further safety measures could be put in place at the venue.

The pub was due to remain shut until Tuesday, November 20, but when it re-opens it will have to comply with extra measures imposed by the council until a full licence review hearing can take place.

These include a reduction in opening hours on Friday and Saturday nights and employing two door staff.

The council said the case would be reconsidered within the next four weeks and the pub may face extra restrictions or even have its licence revoked.

Richmond police borough commander Chief Superintendent Clive Chalk offered his thoughts and condolences to the family of Patrick Lawless.

He said there was no indication that the incidents were pre-planned or gang-related or that weapons were used, but said extra police patrols would be put in place in Teddington.

He said: “Alcohol appears to have played a part in these dreadful events.

“There will be a wide ranging review of all the licensed premises in that area to re-enforce appropriate legislation and to help ensure that everyone who lives or visits Teddington can do so safely and without fear.

“This is as a direct result of Saturday’s events, as prior to this there was no information or intelligence available to indicate the nature of a problem of this scale.”

Councillor Pamela Fleming said she was pleased the pub’s licence had been suspended.

She said: “Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all our residents is of paramount importance.

“The committee has taken a measured response to the police request, reflecting the needs of the community at large.”

 

Comments (11)

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10:45am Thu 15 Nov 12

ken elmes says...

The main problem seems to be the way Pubs are run now. Managers instead of Landlords. It is against the law to serve a drunken person with more drink. A real publican would know his customers and when a person had had his fill and not serve him anymore. A manager just wants to serve more and more to boost his takings for more profit for his masters, the brewery. Ken, former publican
The main problem seems to be the way Pubs are run now. Managers instead of Landlords. It is against the law to serve a drunken person with more drink. A real publican would know his customers and when a person had had his fill and not serve him anymore. A manager just wants to serve more and more to boost his takings for more profit for his masters, the brewery. Ken, former publican ken elmes
  • Score: 0

5:41pm Thu 15 Nov 12

Chronicle says...

@Ken

Bang on Ken. This used to be a really nice old pub 20 years ago, carpets, pool table, darts, good beer and a Landlord to keep us all in check!

Now it's all wooden floors, football on plasma screens an endless supply of nasty lagers & barely legal drinkers packing it away with no one paying attention to anything other than the till.

I'd like to see this bar have it's licence revoked, permanently.

Condolences to the family & friends.
@Ken Bang on Ken. This used to be a really nice old pub 20 years ago, carpets, pool table, darts, good beer and a Landlord to keep us all in check! Now it's all wooden floors, football on plasma screens an endless supply of nasty lagers & barely legal drinkers packing it away with no one paying attention to anything other than the till. I'd like to see this bar have it's licence revoked, permanently. Condolences to the family & friends. Chronicle
  • Score: 0

7:31pm Thu 15 Nov 12

deebradders says...

This is a very tragic event and my heart goes out to the family of Patrick Lawless. However the Royal Oak does appear to be receiving criticism that I believe to be unfair. Since re-opening under new owners we have visited the pub on a number of occaisions and it's always had a very friendly family atmosphere. We know that they have a strict policy on under age drinking and not serving those that appear to have had too much. While they do have TVs they are not hooked up to Sky and have never shown football.
This is a very tragic event and my heart goes out to the family of Patrick Lawless. However the Royal Oak does appear to be receiving criticism that I believe to be unfair. Since re-opening under new owners we have visited the pub on a number of occaisions and it's always had a very friendly family atmosphere. We know that they have a strict policy on under age drinking and not serving those that appear to have had too much. While they do have TVs they are not hooked up to Sky and have never shown football. deebradders
  • Score: 0

10:19pm Thu 15 Nov 12

lottieprosser says...

I agree that this is very tragic. I live just off the High Street in Teddington and I am concerned that police don't seem to have been called much earlier if there was a large crowd of people drinking and brawling as described by residents living close to the pub in earlier reports. Or were the police called but didn't respond quickly enough? Who was actually in charge of the Royal Oak and should they have called the police? There seems to be a tendency to have police patrolling Teddington in daylight when it isn't so necessary but no regular cover at night on Fridays and Saturdays. A large number of people living round the High Street are very upset by this and it has frightened children and the elderly: it would be nice to have some proper answers.
I agree that this is very tragic. I live just off the High Street in Teddington and I am concerned that police don't seem to have been called much earlier if there was a large crowd of people drinking and brawling as described by residents living close to the pub in earlier reports. Or were the police called but didn't respond quickly enough? Who was actually in charge of the Royal Oak and should they have called the police? There seems to be a tendency to have police patrolling Teddington in daylight when it isn't so necessary but no regular cover at night on Fridays and Saturdays. A large number of people living round the High Street are very upset by this and it has frightened children and the elderly: it would be nice to have some proper answers. lottieprosser
  • Score: 0

12:17am Fri 16 Nov 12

Chronicle says...

deebradders wrote:
This is a very tragic event and my heart goes out to the family of Patrick Lawless. However the Royal Oak does appear to be receiving criticism that I believe to be unfair. Since re-opening under new owners we have visited the pub on a number of occaisions and it's always had a very friendly family atmosphere. We know that they have a strict policy on under age drinking and not serving those that appear to have had too much. While they do have TVs they are not hooked up to Sky and have never shown football.
That's a fair comment, it's been a while since i've been in there and it was as much a poke at lot of bars (not pubs) in the area now. I still feel that this bar is one too many and the community as a whole would be better off with less drinking establishments on this high-street.
[quote][p][bold]deebradders[/bold] wrote: This is a very tragic event and my heart goes out to the family of Patrick Lawless. However the Royal Oak does appear to be receiving criticism that I believe to be unfair. Since re-opening under new owners we have visited the pub on a number of occaisions and it's always had a very friendly family atmosphere. We know that they have a strict policy on under age drinking and not serving those that appear to have had too much. While they do have TVs they are not hooked up to Sky and have never shown football.[/p][/quote]That's a fair comment, it's been a while since i've been in there and it was as much a poke at lot of bars (not pubs) in the area now. I still feel that this bar is one too many and the community as a whole would be better off with less drinking establishments on this high-street. Chronicle
  • Score: 0

11:10am Fri 16 Nov 12

LawesPJ says...

Perhaps it might be a good idea for Ken and The Chronicle to go and visit the Royal Oak before they make their sweeping statements, (some which may seem to be defamatory), about the establishment: The Royal Oak has an extremely experienced proprietor/ manager. It has been completely refurbished to a very high standard and opened recently under new management. The Royal Oak is aimed at a fine dining market.

1. The owner is also the landlord and manager. He is very responsible, a very caring family man and would not serve drinks to people as Ken says ‘who have had their fill’.

2. Although The Royal Oak does have highly polished wood floors, it does not have 'football and plasma screens and endless supply of nasty lagers and barely legal drinkers packing it away', a comment many may regard as an imputation of the landlord and his establishment.

It appears (although a fact not investigated by the Richmond and Twickenham News) during a two hour period prior to the brawl breaking out a large number of young people were grouping in Teddington High Street and it may be the case that a number of local residents called the police to warn them of this unusual gathering, but it appears there was no visible police patrol, or presence on the evening until after this large group had been allowed to gather on the high street and the brawl began. In hindsight we may conclude an earlier police presence on the high street either a patrol, or prompt response when the gathering had first been noticed 2 hours before the brawl ensued may have prevented this awfully tragic and very sad incident occurring, rather than as appears unjustified blame being laid to rest on an innocent proprietor whose restaurant was in the wrong situation at the wrong time. In my opinion it would only be responsible and correct in light of these tragic events that we all ensure we get our facts straight before making sweeping stereotypical comments about a landlord and his establishment. My condolences and kindness goes out to the parents and friends of the deceased
Perhaps it might be a good idea for Ken and The Chronicle to go and visit the Royal Oak before they make their sweeping statements, (some which may seem to be defamatory), about the establishment: The Royal Oak has an extremely experienced proprietor/ manager. It has been completely refurbished to a very high standard and opened recently under new management. The Royal Oak is aimed at a fine dining market. 1. The owner is also the landlord and manager. He is very responsible, a very caring family man and would not serve drinks to people as Ken says ‘who have had their fill’. 2. Although The Royal Oak does have highly polished wood floors, it does not have 'football and plasma screens and endless supply of nasty lagers and barely legal drinkers packing it away', a comment many may regard as an imputation of the landlord and his establishment. It appears (although a fact not investigated by the Richmond and Twickenham News) during a two hour period prior to the brawl breaking out a large number of young people were grouping in Teddington High Street and it may be the case that a number of local residents called the police to warn them of this unusual gathering, but it appears there was no visible police patrol, or presence on the evening until after this large group had been allowed to gather on the high street and the brawl began. In hindsight we may conclude an earlier police presence on the high street either a patrol, or prompt response when the gathering had first been noticed 2 hours before the brawl ensued may have prevented this awfully tragic and very sad incident occurring, rather than as appears unjustified blame being laid to rest on an innocent proprietor whose restaurant was in the wrong situation at the wrong time. In my opinion it would only be responsible and correct in light of these tragic events that we all ensure we get our facts straight before making sweeping stereotypical comments about a landlord and his establishment. My condolences and kindness goes out to the parents and friends of the deceased LawesPJ
  • Score: 0

3:33pm Fri 16 Nov 12

Chronicle says...

@LawesPJ You're right, I apologise for commenting out of place. I wasn't aware that it had been renovated and was under new management. I just had a look at their web site and it does look very up-market now, not as I remember it.

It would be next to impossible for a manager, bar person or landlord to exert any influence over a group of young drinkers hell-bent on kicking off. I agree that it would be reassuring in future, to have some more foot patrol police presence along the hight street, especially during drinking hours to actively discourage & diffuse potential trouble.
@LawesPJ You're right, I apologise for commenting out of place. I wasn't aware that it had been renovated and was under new management. I just had a look at their web site and it does look very up-market now, not as I remember it. It would be next to impossible for a manager, bar person or landlord to exert any influence over a group of young drinkers hell-bent on kicking off. I agree that it would be reassuring in future, to have some more foot patrol police presence along the hight street, especially during drinking hours to actively discourage & diffuse potential trouble. Chronicle
  • Score: 0

4:00pm Fri 16 Nov 12

ken elmes says...

To add to my opening remarks at the beginning of this ‘thread’ I restate my remarks on Publicans and Managers as a retired publican.

The modern trend of ‘Pub Chains’ and companies only add to the problem with their managers only aim seems to be to boost trade and make more profit for their companies and commission at any cost.

The problem is abuse of alcohol use in general. People used to go out for an enjoyable social drink meet friends and social occasions. Now they buy ‘cheep’ drinks and get tanked up at home before starting.

The end of ‘cheap booze’ and the ‘buy one and get one free’ culture at Super Markets and chain store off-licences must end. If a bottle of whisky is £15 and a can of beer £2.30 so be it.

Drinking alcohol in the street and Public Places should be band (excepting private gardens and a Beer Tent at an organised function) there are now plenty of drinking places in all towns, restaurants and Pubs.
To add to my opening remarks at the beginning of this ‘thread’ I restate my remarks on Publicans and Managers as a retired publican. The modern trend of ‘Pub Chains’ and companies only add to the problem with their managers only aim seems to be to boost trade and make more profit for their companies and commission at any cost. The problem is abuse of alcohol use in general. People used to go out for an enjoyable social drink meet friends and social occasions. Now they buy ‘cheep’ drinks and get tanked up at home before starting. The end of ‘cheap booze’ and the ‘buy one and get one free’ culture at Super Markets and chain store off-licences must end. If a bottle of whisky is £15 and a can of beer £2.30 so be it. Drinking alcohol in the street and Public Places should be band (excepting private gardens and a Beer Tent at an organised function) there are now plenty of drinking places in all towns, restaurants and Pubs. ken elmes
  • Score: 0

11:20am Sat 17 Nov 12

twickersargyle says...

ken elmes wrote:
To add to my opening remarks at the beginning of this ‘thread’ I restate my remarks on Publicans and Managers as a retired publican.

The modern trend of ‘Pub Chains’ and companies only add to the problem with their managers only aim seems to be to boost trade and make more profit for their companies and commission at any cost.

The problem is abuse of alcohol use in general. People used to go out for an enjoyable social drink meet friends and social occasions. Now they buy ‘cheep’ drinks and get tanked up at home before starting.

The end of ‘cheap booze’ and the ‘buy one and get one free’ culture at Super Markets and chain store off-licences must end. If a bottle of whisky is £15 and a can of beer £2.30 so be it.

Drinking alcohol in the street and Public Places should be band (excepting private gardens and a Beer Tent at an organised function) there are now plenty of drinking places in all towns, restaurants and Pubs.
Yes, Ken, because there never used to be drunken fights in pubs in the past, did there?
[quote][p][bold]ken elmes[/bold] wrote: To add to my opening remarks at the beginning of this ‘thread’ I restate my remarks on Publicans and Managers as a retired publican. The modern trend of ‘Pub Chains’ and companies only add to the problem with their managers only aim seems to be to boost trade and make more profit for their companies and commission at any cost. The problem is abuse of alcohol use in general. People used to go out for an enjoyable social drink meet friends and social occasions. Now they buy ‘cheep’ drinks and get tanked up at home before starting. The end of ‘cheap booze’ and the ‘buy one and get one free’ culture at Super Markets and chain store off-licences must end. If a bottle of whisky is £15 and a can of beer £2.30 so be it. Drinking alcohol in the street and Public Places should be band (excepting private gardens and a Beer Tent at an organised function) there are now plenty of drinking places in all towns, restaurants and Pubs.[/p][/quote]Yes, Ken, because there never used to be drunken fights in pubs in the past, did there? twickersargyle
  • Score: 0

12:23am Mon 19 Nov 12

Frank Connor says...

A tragedy, there is no doubt. Another young life pointlessly lost and probably a number of other young lives ruined in the aftermath.

However this has nothing to do with the Royal Oak. In fact the tragedy has been worsened by the demonisation of a small business by LBRUT , careless journalism by the Richmond & Twickenham Times, and reported comments by Councillor Pamela Fleming. I know one or two people who were out for the evening in the Royal Oak on that day because it is a pleasant establishment which serves excellent food. Their story differs from that of the R&T Times.

The vast majority of the crowd of 20-21 year olds who gathered in the street had not been drinking in the Royal Oak. If they had been drinking at all it was elsewhere in Teddington. They arrived outside the Royal Oak in the middle of the evening. Only a handful had been present in the bar and they like the other customers in the establishment that evening were drinking peaceably. They left to join the crowd gathering in the High Street. In fact the rest of the Royal Oak customers were as bemused by the ensuing fracas in the street as passers by and local residents.

The Police attended the incident which occurred in the street between 21.00 – 22.00. Two people were whisked off to hospital and no arrests were made. Presumably the crowd were dispersed but apparently another incident occurred later in the evening in a different part of the High Street. Again this had nothing whatsoever to do with the Royal Oak. Unfortunately one of the crowd was later found dying in the street.

Of course we don’t know what happened and will have to wait for the Police report. It may have been murder, and it may have been a tragic accident, perhaps fueled by alcohol and hormones. In any event it is likely that if any blame is to be apportioned it is to the members of the crowd of youngsters gathering in the street. No one else.

LBRUT though appear to have chosen to blame the proprietors of the Royal Oak. They have demanded its temporary closure with the intention of reviewing its licence which could mean permanent closure. Even if LBRUT do not permanently close the establishment they are threatening to reduce opening hours and to demand that security guards are employed at the entrance.

This seems very unfair. In the unlikely event that the pub did have the power to control the behaviour of people in the street who had not even been on the premises it is hard to understand why LBRUT believe that getting a pub to close at 23.00 can stop a group of youngsters fighting in the street at between 21.00 – 22.00 in the evening. It is also hard to see how security guards can legally prevent violence occurring in the street whether punters have been in the pub or not.

This has been a tragedy for a young man and his family and for those involved in his death. It is also a tragedy for the youngsters employed by the Royal Oak who having already lost hundreds of pounds in wages because of an unnecessary temporary closure, and who through no fault of their own or of their employer are looking at the prospect of unemployment just before Christmas.
A tragedy, there is no doubt. Another young life pointlessly lost and probably a number of other young lives ruined in the aftermath. However this has nothing to do with the Royal Oak. In fact the tragedy has been worsened by the demonisation of a small business by LBRUT , careless journalism by the Richmond & Twickenham Times, and reported comments by Councillor Pamela Fleming. I know one or two people who were out for the evening in the Royal Oak on that day because it is a pleasant establishment which serves excellent food. Their story differs from that of the R&T Times. The vast majority of the crowd of 20-21 year olds who gathered in the street had not been drinking in the Royal Oak. If they had been drinking at all it was elsewhere in Teddington. They arrived outside the Royal Oak in the middle of the evening. Only a handful had been present in the bar and they like the other customers in the establishment that evening were drinking peaceably. They left to join the crowd gathering in the High Street. In fact the rest of the Royal Oak customers were as bemused by the ensuing fracas in the street as passers by and local residents. The Police attended the incident which occurred in the street between 21.00 – 22.00. Two people were whisked off to hospital and no arrests were made. Presumably the crowd were dispersed but apparently another incident occurred later in the evening in a different part of the High Street. Again this had nothing whatsoever to do with the Royal Oak. Unfortunately one of the crowd was later found dying in the street. Of course we don’t know what happened and will have to wait for the Police report. It may have been murder, and it may have been a tragic accident, perhaps fueled by alcohol and hormones. In any event it is likely that if any blame is to be apportioned it is to the members of the crowd of youngsters gathering in the street. No one else. LBRUT though appear to have chosen to blame the proprietors of the Royal Oak. They have demanded its temporary closure with the intention of reviewing its licence which could mean permanent closure. Even if LBRUT do not permanently close the establishment they are threatening to reduce opening hours and to demand that security guards are employed at the entrance. This seems very unfair. In the unlikely event that the pub did have the power to control the behaviour of people in the street who had not even been on the premises it is hard to understand why LBRUT believe that getting a pub to close at 23.00 can stop a group of youngsters fighting in the street at between 21.00 – 22.00 in the evening. It is also hard to see how security guards can legally prevent violence occurring in the street whether punters have been in the pub or not. This has been a tragedy for a young man and his family and for those involved in his death. It is also a tragedy for the youngsters employed by the Royal Oak who having already lost hundreds of pounds in wages because of an unnecessary temporary closure, and who through no fault of their own or of their employer are looking at the prospect of unemployment just before Christmas. Frank Connor
  • Score: 0

9:01pm Mon 19 Nov 12

Best Bar None says...

All this shows is that LBRUT and the licensing officer PC McGann have no idea about the dynamic of Teddington, Twickenham or Richmond. If there is so much as a sneeze in a pub/club they instantly go for license review and inappropriate conditions on licensees.
It is about time they started policing the streets properly, and arresting thugs and drug addicts instead of waiting for an explosion of violence and then harassing hard working publicans as a scapgoat to their inadequate policing and policies.
My condolences to the family of the young man who passed, and my whole hearted support to the landlady of the Oak.
All this shows is that LBRUT and the licensing officer PC McGann have no idea about the dynamic of Teddington, Twickenham or Richmond. If there is so much as a sneeze in a pub/club they instantly go for license review and inappropriate conditions on licensees. It is about time they started policing the streets properly, and arresting thugs and drug addicts instead of waiting for an explosion of violence and then harassing hard working publicans as a scapgoat to their inadequate policing and policies. My condolences to the family of the young man who passed, and my whole hearted support to the landlady of the Oak. Best Bar None
  • Score: 0

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