Afghan veteran went berserk at Lanark pub party

The Crown Tavern in Lanark.
The Crown Tavern in Lanark.

An army sergeant who has served in Afghanistan suddenly went “berserk” at a family function in a Lanark pub, assaulting his host and challenging other guests to fight him.

The town’s Sheriff Court heard this on Thursday when the serviceman, Sergeant Gen Mullen, 34, pleaded guilty to causing the disturbance at a 50th birthday party held in the function suite of the Crown Tavern in Hope Street on April 24.

Depute fiscal Ziad Hassan told the court that Mullen had been drinking in the bar of the Crown that evening when he fell into conversation with a female guest at the party being held upstairs; she invited him to join her at the function.

The two sat at a table and appeared to chat amicably throughout the evening until around midnight when, without any apparent reason, Mullen became angry and aggressive and the female moved to another table.

A barmaid then noticed Mullen starting to throw about food that was on a tray at his table; the tray also contained a glass tumbler.

He then suddenly threw the tray towards the table where his erstwhile female friend was now sitting. The tumbler on it struck another of the guests, Shane Fitzpatrick, on the head and he then went up to Mr Fitzpatrick and repeatedly punched him on the head.

He then flipped over a table and a barmaid approached him and asked him to leave as did the host of the party, Mr George Elder, whose birthday celebration was now being ruined by Mullen’s behaviour.

The sergeant reacted by throwing punches at him, one connecting with the side of his head.

By now Mullen was shouting and swearing at the whole party, saying: “You are all b......ds.”

Party guests then forced him out of the function room, Mullen threatening “I’m going to have yous.”

The guests managed to get him out of the pub but he stood outside, refusing to leave, at one point ripping open his shirt and holding a bottle, shouting “C’mon then.” The police were called to the scene and Mullen arrested.

Sheriff Nikola Stewart said that she would need background reports before sentencing.

She said: “I want to know why a man who is trained in imposing discipline has gone utterly berserk at a family party.”

She deferred sentence on Mullen, care of Glencourse Barracks, Edinburgh, until Thursday, October 5.