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1 March 2016, 15:16
Two Bedfordshire men accused of affray when wedding parties clashed at an exclusive hotel near Harlow, have been convicted by a jury.
Lee Doyle and Gary Hutson, from Bedfordshire, were arrested after a brawl broke out in the early hours of the morning at Fanhams Hall Hotel in Ware, Herts.
They told St Albans Crown Court they were only trying to calm the situation but, after five hours of deliberation, Doyle was unanimously convicted and Hutson was found guilty by a majority of 10 to 2.
Bridegroom Glen Evans said he was drinking in a bar with his bride and a few others when he was confronted by the two men, who were in T-shirt and shorts, and the other bridegroom, who was still in his wedding tails.
He said that Doyle was quite aggressive and told the Evans group to get out as the area was reserved for his wedding party.
Mr Evans said both men punched him, and his new bride was also struck by an unidentified person.
He said he had bruises all over his head and ribs. His nose, which he had broken playing football, was also fractured for a second time.
But Doyle told the jury he was trying to stop any trouble as " the atmosphere was very volatile."
He said he did not want the groom from his party getting into trouble on his wedding day, saying: "He was quite agitated and had paid a lot of money to have his family and friends there. I wasn't aggressive. I didn't use any swear words."
He said he pushed Mr Evans because he thought he was going to attack Mr Hutson and ended up "grappling" with him on the floor.
Mr Doyle denied trying to hit Mr Evans or throwing a punch at another guest.
He went on: "The police turned up and arrested Gary first. I walked towards a police officer and she said I was pointed out as one of the people involved and she arrested me."
Gary Hutson told the jury said: "I went to the bar to get the manager to calm the situation down."
He described Mr Evans as being 'irate and aggressive.'
Asked if he had wanted to hit anyone, he replied: "Absolutely not."
Lee Doyle, 37, of Halleys Way, Houghton Regis and Gary Hutson, 46, of Redmire Close, Luton, pleaded not guilty to affray in the early hours of Sunday 10 August 2014, but were convicted.
They were granted bail by Recorder Leslie Cuthbert while probation reports are prepared. Sentence is due on 18 March.