A family saw a glorious occasion ‘ruined’ in Wales after a wedding descended into a farcical brawl – which saw the bride’s brother glass the groom’s cousin.
The melee, which erupted across the border, erupted in the midst of a row over drugs, it has emerged in court.
Our colleagues at WalesOnline have reported how a cocaine row led to the astonishing scenes, which left a wedding “ruined”.
It resulted in a brawl involving half a dozen other people, our colleagues report.
Tom Scapens, prosecuting at Swansea Crown Couty, said the incident took place at the Oldwalls wedding venue on Gower on August 25 last year.
A cousin of the groom, Matthew Oliver, went to toilets where he encountered the bride’s brother, Joseph Michael Peckham, a court heard.
Mr Oliver thought 24-year-old Peckham was consuming drugs in the lavatories, and confronted him about it.
But the defendant “strongly rebuked” him, and told him to get lost.
Mr Scapens said Mr Oliver thought that was an end to the matter but during the course of the afternoon and evening Peckham and “other males he recruited” began goading him, and trying to get him to fight them.
Around 9.30pm the victim was outside having a cigarette when Peckham went up to him – he was described as “egging him on” and trying to provoke a fight.
The court heard Mr Oliver approached another guest called Paul Hunter who he believed may be able to defuse the situation – but Mr Hunter was in fact a friend and colleague of the defendant, and instead of trying to intervene he threw the victim to the floor. Mr Scapens said Mr Oliver got back to his feet and punched his assailant.
The prosecutor said Peckham saw what was going on and walked towards his victim then, “with an over-arm motion” threw the pint glass he was holding at his victim’s head.
At this point a number of other people got involved in the fracas, and security staff had to intervene.
The court heard the parties were separated but then Peckham ran at his victim and threw a number of punches. Another disturbance ensued with “approximately five other males” getting involved.
Mr Oliver was subsequently taken to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff where a “small, irregular cut” to the side of his neck was cleaned and glued by medics.
In his subsequent interview Peckham denied the allegations, and said his victim was lying.
Peckham, of The Farthings, Pontprennau, Cardiff, had previously pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm when he appeared in the dock for sentencing.
The court heard he has no previous convitions.
Adam Sharpe, for Peckham, said the incident had been wholly out of character for his client, and that his actions had “effectively ruined” his sister’s wedding.
He said the defendant had had to “explain to his mother he was on drugs”, and “bear the shame and repercussions” of what he did.
The advocate said Peckham was a supervisor in the business ran by his brother-in-law – the groom at the wedding – and “it says a lot for his work that they are standing by him”.
He said being prosecuted had been a “salutary experience” for the defendant, who had refrained from taking drugs since the wedding incident.
Judge Catherine Richards told Peckam he had behaved in an “aggressive and thuggish manner” on the day in question, though she accepted he was genuinely remorseful for what he had done.
She said she had no doubt “the impact of what you did in your sister’s wedding would have been spelled out to you by others”, and the fact the defendant was under the influence of alcohol and cocaine at the time of the assault was a seriously aggravating factor.
Giving Peckham credit for his guilty plea the judge sentenced him to 13 months prison suspended for 12 months, with 200 hours of unpaid work. Peckham must also pay his victim £500 compensation, and £300 towards the costs of his prosecution.
The judge reminded the defendant of his future conduct – adding that using controlled drugs was a criminal offence and would be considered a breach of a his suspended sentence if caught using them again in the future.
The court also heard Mr Hunter had accepted a police caution for his assault on Mr Oliver prior to the glassing.