A pub that was accused by police of destroying a crime scene after an assault has been allowed to stay open.

Staff at GW Horners in Chester-le-Street were criticised by Durham Constabulary for their response and handling of the incident on April 15. 

Paramedics were called to the town centre venue after an attack hospitalised a man with a bleed on the brain and a fractured skull and cheekbone. Pub staff then “destroyed” the crime scene when a manager mopped the floor and did not phone the police, an earlier hearing was told. 

Police said the response to the incident “brings into serious question the management and running of this premise.” The incident was reported to the police six days later by the victim’s sister. 

Sergeant Caroline Dickenson, of Durham Constabulary, said: “The ability to gain evidence from witnesses was lost, names were not recorded, CCTV was only then made available six days later, the quality of that CCTV was poor, and forensic opportunities were lost.

“If staff had looked at the CCTV at the time, they would have seen that this was an assault and not an accident or medical incident.”

The pub was cleared to remain open at a licensing review on Monday after making improvements since the attack. 

GW Horners temporarily closed for refurbishment in April and reopened on Tuesday, May 14. The hearing heard that an upgraded CCTV system has been installed and a new Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) has also been appointed. 

Sgt Dickenson said the force is satisfied with the changes. 

“We’ve worked closely with the licensee, and they’ve been fully on board with ourselves and suggested conditions, which they've adhered to,” she told a licensing hearing on Monday. 

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“I don’t wish to labour the point of what happened, it was an unfortunate incident, however, the licensees have taken everything on board and Durham Constabulary is more than happy with the venue as it is and the addition of the extra conditions.” 

Cameras have also been installed in the toilets, where the attack occurred.

Cllr David Brown, chair of the licensing committee, ruled the pub can remain open. “We’re very happy to see the progress that’s been made,” he said.