Elvis night pub pair cleared of attempted murder but admit attack which left victim with slit throat (From Surrey Comet)
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Elvis night pub pair cleared of attempted murder but admit attack which left victim with slit throat
Updated 4:23pm Monday 17th March 2014 in News
A man accused of slitting a pubgoer's throat at an Elvis tribute night said he "walked straight into the lion's den" when he popped into a Chessington pub to use the toilet, a court heard.
Stephen Martin Shearwood, 50, from Hammersmith was halfway through an attempted murder trial on Thursday when he admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent.
His victim Gino Taffurelli suffered a slit throat after the attack at the Chessington Oak pub on Friday, September 13 last year.
The attempted murder charge and a charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm were dropped and the jury discharged.
John Clifford Thorp, from Essex pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm. Charges of attempted murder and causing grievous bodily harm with intent were dropped.
Taking the stand during a hearing to discuss the facts of the case ahead of his sentencing, Shearwood said: "I promise you I did not know he was there. I promise you with all my heart - I walked straight into the lion's den."
Dublin-born Shearwood and Mr Taffurelli were known to each other as they had grown up in Roehampton together but parted ways when they each moved away, the court heard.
But despite not seeing each other for 15 years, Shearwood told the court he was attacked from behind in a Roehampton pub by Mr Taffurelli's son Lee for no reason.
He said: "He is a very angry child and for some reason he thought by doing something to me he could gain notoriety."
Shearwood added that he expected Mr Taffurelli to give his son "a good telling off" but instead he said: "He went the other way. He joined him. He backed him against me".
Shearwood said had been out drinking in Roehampton with co-defendant Thorp and friend Paul English on Friday, September 13, the night of the knifing.
They then decided to move on to a pub in Oxshott and then Worcester Park - but never made it to the latter.
On deciding to stop over at the Chessington Oak pub, Shearwood said: "I was absolutely bursting. The others said 'we will have a drink while you are in there'."
He added they had not been able to find parking in the car park so had parked half a a mile away and made their way in through the smoking area to avoid the rain, not knowing Mr Taffurelli would be there.
But Shearwood said he was glassed on arrival.
He said: "The blood was running. At the time I thought it was my eye that had been cut. I was blinded.
"I had not seen him for such a long time so it came as quite a shocking thing. It exploded in my head - the knowledge of what was happening. I thought 'of all places'."
Shearwood said he had taken a stanley knife with him to Roehampton because he feared his safety due to previous violence by the Taffurelli family towards him, and remembered his knife as he was being attacked.
He said: "I accept that I was trying to hurt him for what he was doing."
Shearwood said the fight ended as others kicked and punched him outside the pub before bouncers tore away the crowd.
Sherwood admitted he had heard Lee had been sent to prison for seven years in 2013 but he said he had not known Mr Taffurelli would be at the pub and had moved to Chessington until the trial, insisting that he believed he lived in Shepperton.
He alleged that in total, he had 110 stitches from run-ins with the Taffurelli family on three occasions including one at a wake.
But he later said there was no feud between the families and that Mr Taffurelli and himself had known each other for 40 years and had even been arrested together a couple of times.
He also pulled out his retainers and showed the court his missing teeth that he alleged came from three attacks.
When asked by his defence counsel John Skinner on why he did not involve the police, he said: "I would have ended up dead."
The pair are expected to be sentenced tomorrow.