'Ignore whims of King of the Gipsies'

The Northern Echo: ATTACKED: Louis Welch ATTACKED: Louis Welch

A JURY has been warned not to “open the floodgates to anarchy” by allowing themselves to be influenced by Darlington bare-knuckle fighter Louis Welch’s refusal to give evidence against two teenagers accused of attacking him with machetes.

They were also warned not to speculate what Mr Welch – known as the “King of the Gipsies” – might have said had he chosen to help the prosecution.

The court has heard the 40- year-old, who now lives in Yarm, near Stockton, identified the eight men he said left him severely wounded at the Trotters racing, at Appleby, Cumbria, last Whitsun Bank Holiday Monday.

But apart from that, he refused to provide a written statement or give evidence in court to help bring his attackers to justice.

The jury at Carlisle Crown Court has heard he considered it “against the travellers’ code of honour”.

Alex Varey, 19, and George Miller, 18, both of Clare Road, Lancaster, were charged after their fingerprints were found on machetes found at the scene of the May 25 attack.

They deny wounding Mr Welch with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, saying they were not in the area at the time of the attack.

Yesterday, as the trial reached its closing stages, the judge, Recorder John Bromley- Davenport, told the jury the only question they must answer was whether Mr Varey and Mr Miller were among the gang who attacked Mr Welch.

Michael Scholes, prosecuting, told the jury they should not treat the case less seriously just because Mr Welch had not given evidence.

“The mere fact that Louis Welch does not wish to pursue a criminal complaint against these two young men is not a basis upon which you can say, ‘if he can’t be bothered, then nor can we’,” he said.

“Something more important is at stake than the whims and wishes and idiosyncrasies of Louis Welch,”

he said. “If you abdicate your responsibility, you will open the floodgates to anarchy and criminality of the worst kind.”

The jury will retire to reach its verdicts later this morning.

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