Patrons beaten up in ‘gang attack’ at Firkin pub

2009-10-13 00:00

A 21-YEAR-OLD Pietermaritzburg man was treated in hospital for a head injury and broken jaw at the weekend after being beaten up in the car park of Firkin & Ferrett pub and restaurant near Chatterton Road traffic circle in the early hours of Saturday.

The victim (whose mother asked The Witness to withhold the names of those involved out of fear of a revenge attack) and his two friends believe they were attacked by members of a gang of men said to frequent the area.

One of the young men — all of whom are students and are regular patrons at Firkin & Ferret — said they were set upon by a group of about seven men as they were about to cross the bridge to the car park at about 1 am.

“It all happened so fast that quite frankly it’s a bit of a blur. I couldn’t identify anyone,” he said.

He said he was punched in the face twice by a man who walked up to him. He was aware of his friends also being attacked.

The victim who was most seriously hurt was further ahead, and turned back to help when he realised his companions were being assaulted.

“I honestly didn’t see what happened to him. I just got up and ran. One guy chased after me, but stopped.”

The trio joined up on the other side of the street and were given a lift to safety by a group of people who knew them and witnessed the attack.

Only one assault victim sustained severe injuries.

He told his mother he recalls going back to help his friends, but as he turned around he was hit over the head with a beer bottle. He fell to the ground and scraped his face on the tarmac.

He cannot recall what happened then, but his mother said she believes he must have been kicked in the face as his jaw was fractured and his tooth was also broken.

He was discharged from hospital yesterday morning.

One of the victim’s mothers went to the police station to try to open a case. She told The Witness she was advised that opening a case would not help since the victim cannot identify his attackers.

The victim’s mother said she approached a staff member at Firkin & Ferret on Saturday to report what had happened and because she believed the restaurant should be held accountable for security in the car park.

The employee told her that there had recently been “some trouble” with a gang that has been banned from the pub and said Firkin had employed two bouncers to keep its patrons safe. However, he agreed it may need to consider employing more bouncers to police the car park.

The restaurant was closed on Sunday, and for that reason The Witness delayed publishing the article in order to allow Firkin & Ferret an opportunity to respond.

Firkin & Ferret manager Alister Taylor said yesterday security in the car park is not his responsibility.

“We don’t have the control of the car park, it’s out of our premises. We don’t have problems within our premises. We have been operating for four years now.”

He denied any knowledge of a gang. He admitted some people become violent after drinking alcohol.

“We make sure we hire guards in our premises,” Taylor added.

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