Farnworth guests battered pregnant woman and elderly couple after being told to 'keep the noise down' at wedding reception in Great Lever

The Bolton News: GUILTY: Sarah Etchells GUILTY: Sarah Etchells

THREE guests launched a "repeated and sustained assault" on a pregant woman and an elderly couple after they were asked to keep the noise down at a wedding reception.

The attack was started by 34-year-old mum-of-three Sarah Etchells outside The Railway in Green Lane, Great Lever, where she was attending a wedding reception. 

The ensuing attack resulted in a pregnant woman being scratched, an elderly woman being punched in the face and an elderly man being punched six times through a car window while one of the drunken guests shouted "paedo" at him.

Bolton Crown Court heard that Etchells became angry when The Railway's club secretary, Harold Foulkes, a volunteer, and his wife Eileen Foulkes, both aged 75, asked guests to keep the noise down.

Etchells “took exception with being told to be quiet” and punched Mrs Foulkes once in the face, leaving her battered and bruised, Bolton Crown Court heard.

Another guest, 27-year-old Dale Hughes, was heard by witnesses shouting “paedo” and other abuse towards Mr Foulkes.

The victims tried to escape the attack in their Vauxhall Astra, but Hughes and 52-year-old Nicholas Etchells, Sarah Etchells’ husband, leaned through the car's open window and punched Mr Foulkes about six times.


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He lost one of his expensive hearing aids during the attack.

Lisi Ke, prosecuting, said one of the passengers got out of the car - at which point Sarah Etchells got inside and attacked Rachael Bonney, a pregnant woman, leaving her with a three-inch scratch on her chest.

The court heard Sarah Etchells continued with the attack despite Ms Bonney telling her she was pregnant.

The incident happened at about 1am on September 1 last year.

Andrew Costello, defending Hughes, said he is an “emotional” person and was acting "to protect his family".

Hughes, who was said to be a father of three children, aged seven, four and two, is in a 10-year relationship.

He works as a forklift truck driver and said he regretted the incident.

Andrew Pilkington, defending Nicholas Etchells, said his involvement was “minimal” and that he was sorry for what Mr and Mrs Foulkes had gone through.

He had recently got a job as a decorator.

Huw Edwards, defending Sarah Etchells, said she worked as a carer for her grandmother, who was housebound, and looks after her three children, aged 16, 15 and seven.

He said Etchells was “unable to remember lots of the incident”.

Sentencing the trio, Recorder Timothy Hamman said: “It was a dreadful incident in which two elderly people, a man and wife, both aged 75, were attacked without reason when they were running a social club.

“Sarah Etchells, you started it. For a married woman with a child, who was present, your behaviour was as bizarre as it was disgusting — no doubt you were drunk.

“You should be ashamed of yourself. I watched you sit through the trial without showing any glimmer of emotion or embarrassment.”

Sarah Etchells, of Dove Walk, Farnworth, admitted two counts of assault by beating.

She was given a 12-month community order and ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid work.

Nicholas Etchells, also of Dove Walk, Farnworth, and Hughes, of Wordsworth Avenue, Farnworth, were found guilty of causing actual bodily harm and were both jailed for 18 months.

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