Hornsey pub must remain closed after staff ‘cleaned up crime scene’ following October stabbing

The Royal Oak. Image: Google

A pub must remain closed after a man was stabbed repeatedly outside and staff failed to call the police and cleaned his blood up, Islington’s licensing committee has decided.

The incident happened outside the Royal Oak on the Elthorne Estate in Hornsey in October and the council suspended the licence.

The police asked the council to review the licence over their concerns about what the pub did after the man was seriously injured.

The company that owns the leasehold wanted to run the pub with new management and strict new conditions but faced an uphill struggle to convince the licensing committee not to revoke the licence.

Two years before, a 60-year-old named locally as Alciveadis Mauredis died two weeks after he was assaulted outside the pub. Its license was reviewed by Islington Council.

There was also a serious assault at the pub in 2015 when staff did not call the police.

PC Adam Peace told the licensing committee that a man was “seriously assaulted” this October by a group of men “in an apparent attempt to do fatal damage to him”.

He said: “The venue pointedly did two things. One, they did not call the emergency services, and two, they pointedly and quite frantically made efforts – very successful efforts – to obliterate the crime scene, to clean the crime scene.”

The licence-holder has since left and handed back the keys to the pub’s  leaseholders, Britain’s biggest pub chain Stonegate, who want to reopen on St John’s Way.

PC Peace said the police has been talking to them to find a way of reopening the pub after “this pretty woeful episode”.

Between them they came up with a package of measures, including a soft opening after six months’ closure, initially shutting at 7pm. Staff would also wear body cameras, there would be CCTV, and management would make a serious of unannounced visits.

Management also planned to hire an independent person to make reports following spot checks.

Licensing committee chairman Cllr Phil Graham said the committee would “take a lot of convincing” following the two serious incidents.

He said residents were “overjoyed that the place is boarded up at the moment”.

PC Peace said the operators were under no illusions it would be “the last-chance saloon” if the licence was up for review again.

“It would be the most heavily regulated pub licence in Islington” if approved, he said.

Philip Kolvin QC, for the applicant Stonegate, said it appeared the stabbing victim was “targeted”. He said the venue cleaned up his blood after he came into the pub.

“Their action was reprehensible,” he added.

Stonegate bought Ei in 2020 and has 4,000 pubs in the UK. Kolvin said it is a “highly responsible operator”.

The six-month closure would make a “clear break between what went on before”, he said.

There would be spot checks and a barring system.

He said if there was any crime in the area “it will not be because of irresponsible management by my client”.

Stonegate’s director of licensing Paul Wright said he would get reports from a third party’s unannounced visits every three to four weeks.

A regional manager would also visit at least four times a year for six to eight hours at a time. Management would also meet with the police every month.

“My client is not going to let this pub get out of its hands,” said Kolvin.

Cllr Graham said he did not want to have to explain why someone else was “seriously injured or worse” in a few months’ time.

He added: “We don’t want closed pubs, but we have closed pubs and closed nightclubs because it comes down to public safety.”

After a lengthy deliberation the committee decided to revoke the premises licence, with the suspension in place, pending an appeal.