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Tavern of terror is closed after murder

PUBLISHED: 17:36 27 January 2010 | UPDATED: 10:30 12 August 2010

NO LICENCE:The Priory Tavern.

NO LICENCE:The Priory Tavern.

A PUB where a serious assault took place hours before a traveller was killed has had its licence suspended for three months. Bromley police believed problems were so bad at the Priory Tavern in Orpington High Street that they had asked Bromley council t

A PUB where a serious assault took place hours before a traveller was killed has had its licence suspended for three months.

Bromley police believed problems were so bad at the Priory Tavern in Orpington High Street that they had asked Bromley council to revoke the licence at a sub-committee meeting last Friday, saying it had been run in a "deplorable" way.

Police licensing officer, Andrew Waddington, highlighted the pub's history of violence and said customers had been allowed to drink themselves into stupors and smoke at the bar.

He said the terms of the licence had also broken by not always having a Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS), someone who takes responsibility for the pub and the licence had already been called in for review last August because of public nuisance caused by noise.

The premise is owned by Enterprise Inns, a property organisation which has hundreds of pubs across the country.

During the meeting at the Civic Centre in Stockwell Close, police drew attention to the fight which happened at around 11pm last October 30 with children present as glass flew during the brawl which left a woman lying unconscious on the floor.

She was the partner of traveller Moses Devall, 36, who was stabbed to death hours later.

One man has since been charged with his murder while four others are due in the dock accused of the woman's assault.

Although the murder squad said Mr Devall's death which took place in St Paul's Cray had nothing to do with the pub, Mr Waddington said an atmosphere lacking any control had been allowed to develop there.

He said: "We believe this premises has failed to conduct their business in the way that it should be. Turn to page 2

"The way that they have conducted their business has been deplorable. Offences have been committed which had led to breaches of crime and disorder aspect of the licence."

His statement to the council read: "A serious assault took place between a group of females and males, one receiving serious facial injuries and being knocked unconscious to the floor where she remained for some time. The incident took place on a dance floor. The partner of the victim was later fatally stabbed. This was not at the premises but is inextricably linked to the assault of the female."

CCTV showed staff making no attempt to break up the fight and no call was made to the police for several minutes.

Mr Waddington added: "Enterprise Inns have retained the premises licence and as such are responsible for how the premises are run.

"It is quite clear that up until this point that they have asserted absolutely no control over how these premises were being run."

But solicitor for Enterprise Inns Claire Johnson said "I'm not sitting here by any stretch of the imagination saying everything is fine- quite the opposite.

"We know that we have got and had serious problems at this premises.

"We have to ask if the incident on October 30 had not happened whether we would be sitting here.

"It could have happened anywhere. This is something that needs to be taken into consideration. Had that not happened at this premises I don't think we would be here this morning."

Councillors took around an hour to come to a decision for the licence to be suspended for three months.

A spokesperson for Enterprise, which has until end of February to appeal the decision, said: "We will work with the local authority to find a solution for this pub."

When it does re-open there are to be no children allowed after 7pm, two door supervisors on Friday and Saturday nights from 7pm to closing and there is to be a challenge 25 policy whereby anyone who looks under that age will be asked for ID.

James Saunders, 20, of Powerscroft Road, Sidcup, is charged with the murder of Moses Devall. He appeared at the Old Bailey on Monday (25) and spoke only confirm his name. He did not enter a plea.

His brothers, William Saunders, 22, of Manor Road, Sidcup and John Saunders, 29, of Powerscroft Road, Sidcup are accused attacking Mr Devall's partner, Sarah Schock, on the same day.

Their sister Charmaine Coates, also known as Laura Sanders, 28, and her husband 30-year-old Levi or Elijah Coates are also accused of assaulting Ms Schock.

They are jointly charged with causing grievous bodily harm.

Charmaine Coates appeared in the dock with James Saunders, the remaining three defendants appeared via prison videolink. All five are due to face trial on May 10. The case is expected to last up to five weeks. They are next due in court on February 18.

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