Grandad 'used as a punchbag' after asking wedding guests to keep noise down

Harold and Eileen Foulkes

Harold Foulkes' injuries

First published in News
Last updated
The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , crime reporter

A GRANDFATHER was “used as a punch bag” by two wedding guests adfter they were asked to keep the noise down at a reception.

Former policeman Harold Foulkes, aged 75, has spoken of his and his wife’s ordeal after their three attackers were dealt with in court.

Mr Foulkes described how he had locked up The Railway Club in Green Lane, Great Lever, where he has volunteered for more than 20 years, when he was set upon by 52-year-old Nicholas Etchells, and Dale Hughes, aged 27.

Mr Foulkes was left with black eyes and suffered a nose bleed in the attack, and he also lost an expensive hearing aid.

His wife, 76-year-old Eileen Foulkes, a retired electrical assembler, was punched in the face by Sarah Etchells, who was said to have instigated the incident in the early hours of September 1 last year.

Pregnant barmaid Rachael Bonney was also attacked by 34-year-old Sarah Etchells after her attacker climbed into Mr Foulkes’ car.

She had her hair pulled and her chest scratched.

Mr Foulkes, from Ladybridge, said: “I was locking the premises and putting the alarm on when I saw her thumping my wife.

“I pushed Sarah Etchells away and said ‘you don’t hit my wife’ and told her she was 75 years old. I was worried about my wife but she took it very well.

“My car window started misting up so I dropped the window down — that’s when they came and attacked me.

Nothing like this has ever happened before at The Railway. Once your seat belt is fastened you can’t move. I was just a punch bag for them.”

Mr Foulkes said he had not been put off volunteering and continues to help out daily at The Railway Club.

Hughes, of Wordsworth Avenue, Farnworth, and Nicholas Etchells, of Dove Walk, Farnworth, were found guilty of actual bodily harm and jailed for 18 months at Bolton Crown Court.

Sarah Etchells, aged 34, admitted two counts of common assault and causing criminal damage to Mr Foulkes’ car.

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

Mr Foulkes said when they asked the wedding guests to “politely be quiet” they initially took it well.

Mr Foulkes said: “Nicholas Etchells said he was sorry. He was the perfect gentleman to begin with and quietened down but Sarah Etchells carried on fighting and bawling. She was the instigator of it.

“I didn’t think Nicholas Etchells and Hughes would get as long as they did but I am not complaining. I am not saying it was an excessive sentence.

“The bride and groom were not aware of what happened at the time as they had left.

"I did get a card a few days later thanking me for everything and apologising for the trouble.”

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