A Seaham pub has been ordered to close indefinitely after a man suffered serious facial injuries following an “horrific attack”. 

The victim remains in hospital after being found lying unconscious with significant blood loss during the incident at Memory Lane on April 20. 

Police officers arrived at the Church Street premises at 11.24pm and were told “he’s nearly dead” by a female. 

Durham Constabulary has since raised several concerns with the venue’s response to the incident and lack of CCTV available - and called on Durham County Council’s licensing authority to immediately suspend its licence. 

Sgt Caroline Dickenson detailed the incident at a licensing hearing on Thursday. 

She said: “CCTV has captured the assault in full and it shows an horrific attack on the victim who has significant injuries to his face. The victim has been punched over a dozen times to the face whilst he appears unconscious, displaying a clear intent to cause serious harm to the victim.

“The victim has been advised he has several fractures across multiple different parts of his face and will require surgery at a later date. The victim is still in hospital and so far due to his injuries has been unable to give police a full account of what has happened.”

An officer’s body-worn camera footage was played at the hearing and showed the shocking extent of the victim’s injuries while lying in hospital waiting for treatment. CCTV footage of the assault was also shown. 

Sgt Dickenson said staff at the premises did not report the incident to the police despite calling for an ambulance. All glassware had been removed from the scene by staff prior to police officers attending, the hearing was told. Officers were also initially unable to view CCTV at the premises due to an ongoing dispute between the venue’s owners. 

The police also questioned why the attack happened after 11pm when the venue should have been closed. 

Sgt Dickenson added: “The interference of the crime scene and removal of items has impacted on the chance of being able to obtain any forensics at the scene and the continuity of evidence is no longer intact.

“Due to the seriousness of the incident, the poor management at the premises, and breach of license conditions around the CCTV and potentially the hours of operation the police feel there is significant risk to public safety.”

Emma Bird, the venue’s Designated Premises Supervisor, said the ongoing dispute between the owners is affecting how the business is operating. 

She told the hearing: “Yes I am responsible, I should have been there and should be doing a lot more, but hurdles are being put in place of me all the time. I’m trying every way to abide by these rules. 

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“The pub has run smoothly until this fight. Those people have never been in the bar in their lives.”

The licensing committee suspended Memory Lane’s licence following concerns from the authorities. Cllr David Brown, chair of the hearing, ruled: “There seems to be a complete lack of control with the premises. We have given suspension of the licence, and this is the only option that is available to us.” 

A further licensing hearing involving the premises is due to be heard later this year.