THIS time four years ago police were called to Worcester Crown Court after one of six men accused of affray hit a co-defendant as they appeared together in the dock.

Judge Robert Juckes QC was about to go into the courtroom in March 2016 when the trouble erupted and the case was halted until officers arrived to make sure there was no further disturbance.

As the case eventually began Judge Juckes said: “I’m told that there was a disturbance in the dock as I was about to come in. If there is any further trouble I have powers to deal with it.”

He said he had been told that Aaron Saunders had struck another defendant in the dock.

Police officers stood by in the court room and in the public gallery, where friends of the six accused – all of whom are from Worcester – had gathered, as the case proceeded.

Before the court were Saunders, aged 22, of Woodmancoat, Warndon, Bobby Noake, 19, of Patterdale Drive, Warndon, Kyle Brierley-Jones, 20, of Gresham Road, Dines Green, Tyler Stevens, 20, of Dorothy Crescent, Claines, Ryan Watkins, 19, of Drakes Avenue, Dines Green, and George Zaroulias, 19, of Knight Street, St John’s.

All six admitted affray and Brierley-Jones also admitted charges of using threatening words or behaviour to two police officers.

Mark Phillips, prosecuting, said the charges arose from an incident that began at the Courtyard pub in Worcester on November 28, 2015 when Saunders hit Watkins.

A short time later Saunders was in a taxi at a nearby rank when Brierley-Jones and others began attacking the vehicle.

During the incident Watkins punched through a window of the taxi. Stevens had leaned into the taxi and been punched and Noake was hanging on the side of the vehicle, kicking either the car or people inside it, said Mr Phillips.

The taxi driver later told police he had been “scared”, that he had never seen trouble like it in Worcester before and he had lost £100 in earnings that night, as well as £200 to pay for the damage to the window.

Saunders and Brierley-Jones, used racial abuse to a police officer after being arrested, were both jailed immediately for six months.

Brierley-Jones will serve his sentence in a young offenders’ institution.

Stevens and Watkins were each given six-month sentences and Zaroulis four months, all suspended for a year. Stevens, Zaroulis and Watkins were also ordered to do 150 hours unpaid work in the community.

Noake was given six months suspended for 12 months and ordered to do 100 hours work in the community and 20 days of rehabilitation activities.

Stevens, Watkins, Noake and Zaroulis were also each ordered to pay £75 compensation to the taxi driver, £130 court costs and a victim surcharge.

Judge Juckes told the group they had been involved in “exactly the kind of violence” that put people off visiting Worcester at night and that “sickens” those who saw it.

“The damage that does to the city is considerable,” he added.

Gareth James, defending Brierley-Jones, said his client was expecting his first child in October and had got involved in the incident at the taxi after seeing his friend, Stevens, being punched by an occupant of the taxi.

Mr James said Stevens, who he was also representing, had recently become out of work but hoped to find employment as a hairdresser.

Nigel Stelling, for Zaroulis, said his client’s partner had been struck by someone in the taxi.

Samantha Lamsdale said Saunders, who she represented, said he had been “shoulder-barged” in the pub after the boyfriend of a woman he had spoken to at the bar took “umbrage”.

Paul Stanley, for Noake, said his client had been addicted to cannabis from the age of 11 and had been in a mental health institution after the incident.

Jason Patel, defending, said Watkins had not been going out to consume alcohol since the incident.