A 20-man pub brawl erupted after a man was headbutted coming out of the bar toilet.

One witness described the scene at the Old Lane pub, Pewsham, as “being like one of the bar brawls in a cowboy movie”.

Three men have already been sentenced for their part in the bar fight on July 5, 2019. The case can now be reported after a fourth defendant, Anthony Ballard, this week pleaded guilty to affray.

Last month, Swindon Crown Court heard Joshua and Michael Patton were at the pub with friends.

At one point in the evening, two members of their group went over to another group – out celebrating a birthday – and asked to borrow their guitar, adding that if the instrument wasn’t handed over they would steal it.

There was another exchange of words around 45 minutes to an hour later, which led to the birthday party moving off to a different  part of the pub.

A member of the Patton’s group later went to the toilet. As he emerged he bumped into a man in the other group, muttering “don’t mind me”. He was headbutted.

Almost immediately, a 20 man brawl erupted in which punches were thrown and at least one chair used.

One of those injured in the fight was taken by ambulance to Great Western Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a laceration through the top of his right ear. His front teeth had been damaged. In a victim impact statement he said the incident had hit his self-confidence.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

The Old Lane pub, Pewsham Picture: GOOGLE

Oliver Needham, 24, who was not drunk, ran into the fray after seeing a friend punched in the head. He punched Joshua Patton then adopted a fighter’s stance. The man, who was of previous good character, was said to be remorseful and ashamed of his actions. He was described in mitigation as an intelligent young man who had battled with a number of emotional and mental health issues.

Michael Patton, 31, admitted throwing two or three punches at someone who had attacked his friend. In mitigation, it was said he had children and had struggled with anxiety and depression. The probation service deemed him to be unlikely to commit further offences.

Joshua Patton, 30, threw a number of punches – but at one stage also tried to move members of the group away.  Although he had a more serious record for violence, his last violent conviction dated back to 2013 and he was very remorseful. He was a dad-of-two and played an important role in his father’s business.

Sentencing the men in November, Judge Peter Crabtree said: “None of you were the principal participants in what occurred that evening, although you all played a part.”

Michael Patton, of St George’s Court, Semington, admitted affray and was sentenced to an 18 month community order with an alcohol treatment requirement and 120 hours of unpaid work.

Needham, of Malmesbury Road, Chippenham, pleaded guilty to affray and received an 18 month community order with 150 hours of unpaid work and a 10 week curfew.

Joshua Patton, of Lysley Close, Chippenham, admitted affray at the magistrates’ court and was given a 10 month prison sentence suspended for 18 months. He must do 140 hours of unpaid work and complete an alcohol rehabilitation programme.

Each man must pay £400 compensation to the man whose teeth were damaged and banned from going to the Old Lane pub for a year.

There had been reporting restrictions preventing details of the case from being reported. However, the men’s actions can now be reported after a fourth defendant, Anthony Ballard, 29, of Unity Street, Chippenham, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to affray and causing actual bodily harm on May 26, 2019.

Judge Crabtree bailed Ballard to return to Swindon Crown Court for sentence on January 11. Although he ordered a pre-sentence report, the judge warned the man he was “making no promises at all”. He added: “The starting point is undoubtedly custody.”