Blyth pub owners assaulted by drunken customer bounce back thanks to support from community

The Red Hart owners Paul and Gillian Riley
The Red Hart owners Paul and Gillian Riley

A Blyth landlord and his wife have thanked the community for helping them bounce back from a horrific attack which left them ready to “hang up the keys” after 12 years in the pub trade.

Paul and Gillian Riley considered giving up their much-loved pub, the Red Hart Hotel, after a drunken customer and his girlfriend unleashed a “traumatising” drunken assault on them in December last year.

The Red Hart owners Paul and Gillian Riley

The Red Hart owners Paul and Gillian Riley

Trouble started when Martin Corcoran, of Maltby, ordered four pints and a whiskey just before closing time and became abusive shouting, “Is my money no good?” when Paul offered him only one drink.

They were asked to leave and Corcoran shouted: “I’m not f****** going anywhere, you paedo.”

As they were being ushered out, Corcoran lunged at Paul and pushed him into the road, where Corcoran hit him four or five times.

Cocoran’s girlfriend, Joanne Bell, punched Gillian in the face, knocking off her glasses before trying to stamp on them.

Gillian was taken to hospital with concussion and bruising, and said she came home feeling “traumatised” and “ready to hang up the keys”.

But as well-wishers from the area arrived the next day “in their droves” to offer support to the couple, they decided they “just couldn’t give up” the job they love.

Gillian said: “We could not believe how many people were coming through the door with flowers and chocolates, offering support. We can’t thank them all enough.”

“We have been here for 12 years, and have never encountered anything like this before. It was an awful experience.

“We are a lot more cautious now, but for every bad person it’s clear that there are a thousand good ones.

“We want to let our customers know that we got back up and it will be business as usual.”

Joanne Bell, 29, and Martin Corcoran, 27, of Lime Grove, Maltby, admitted two counts of common assault when they appeared at Mansfield Magistrates Court.

The court heard the couple have two children, aged three and five, and “wanted to apologise” to their victims.

Corcoran was given a 16 week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months. Bell was given a 12 month community order with 15 days of a rehabilitation activity. They were ordered to pay £1,750 compensation each.

Gillian added: “The police officers on the case were brilliant- they were determined we got justice.

“If you have a business, we’d like to stress the importance of having good CCTV. Thanks to the footage there was no argument on identification.”