‘Not in the public interest’ to release picture of pub killer
A MAN banned from all pubs in a town after attacking a barman had previously been convicted of manslaughter – for killing a man in a pub.
Yet police refused our request for a photograph to be released to let the public know who he was.
Last month, Richard Stanford-Davies was given a one-year exclusion order banning him from pubs in Potters Bar, after attacking a member of staff at The Admiral Byng.
The 35-year-old, of Dellsome Lane, Welham Green, was given suspended jail terms of 16 weeks for assault, and eight weeks for criminal damage.
Since our story appeared in the Welwyn Hatfield Times on December 23, it has come to light that Stanford-Davies was given a five-year jail sentence in September 2004 after punching a man on the chin, killing him almost instantly.
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He was a guest at an after hours 21st birthday party at the Old Maypole pub in North Mymms in March that year when fighting broke out.
Luton Crown Court heard Stanford-Davies punched a man unconscious, attacked pub landlord Neil Martin, then turned on Richard Hemstead, who had stepped in to help his friend.
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The 47-year-old was hit once on the left side of his chin.
He suffered massive internal bleeding as the punch damaged his vertebral artery as a result of the sudden rotation of his head.
Stanford-Davies was charged with murder, but in court a guilty plea to manslaughter was accepted.
He was also given a two-year term after admitting ABH, for the attack on the landlord.
Despite this background, Hertfordshire Constabulary turned down the Welwyn Hatfield Times’ request for a photograph of Stanford-Davies to allow pubgoers to know what he looks like.
At the time of the original story, we were told it “was not proportional or in the public interest to release his photograph more widely”.
Yet one resident who called our newsdesk poured scorn on this claim.
He said: “How the police can claim it is not in the public interest to release his photograph I don’t know.”
This week, police defended their stance.
A spokeswoman told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “It is only in exceptional circumstances that we issue photographs of people who have received less than three years’ imprisonment.
“In this case, Stanford-Davies received a 16 and eight-week suspended sentence.
“It was in relation to a local issue affecting the local community and it was therefore not appropriate – or proportional – for us to issue his photograph to all residents across the Welwyn Hatfield district.”
She added: “While we appreciate the public’s help in trying to help us solve and prevent crime, in this case, it is the landlords of the pubs in Potters Bar who are able to positively enforce the order and they are all aware of what he looks like.”
* This picture of Stanford-Davies is from the Welwyn Hatfield Times’ archives, from the time of his manslaughter court case in September 2004.