Television presenter Ashley Blake said he was “in fear of his life” as he described the moments leading up to an alleged assault on a teenager outside his bar.
The BBC newsreader is alleged to have hit Greg Jones in the face with a patio umbrella after an 18th birthday party being held at Blake’s former bar and restaurant The Place2B in Sutton Coldfield.
The 40-year old, who ran the venue with partner Jessica Hayes but has since left, told police in the first interview following his arrest in the early hours of January 25 that he was trying to defend himself against a barrage of missiles from the crowd of revellers.
Blake, denies wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and unlawful wounding.
He has also pleaded not guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice by throwing the wooden pole - measuring 3ft and one and a half inches wide - into a neighbouring garden centre in an attempt to conceal it from police.
A transcript of Blake’s interviews with police were read out at Birmingham Crown Court yesterday.
At the time he said he didn’t know that teenager Adam Finn had been knocked out by a regular at the pub - Steven Sproule - and thought the reaction was a result of scuffle between a group of guests and a member of his staff who was not working that evening.
The jury has been told Sproule, 38, of Booths Farm Road, Great Barr, has pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
“It was really frightening.” Blake told police on the night of the incident. “As part of my job I have taken part in hostile environment training with police to deal with riots and I can only liken it to that.
“We were scared and trying to retreat back. I wish the police had come sooner. I was in fear of my life.”
The prosecution read all interviews given by Blake following the incident in which Greg Jones suffered a severe facial injury which required stitches.
In the first interview on January 25, Blake described how the mood had changed from light hearted banter to a heated situation when guests were being asked to leave.
He recalled missiles being thrown and that he had used implements to defend himself but said he didn’t remember going back inside to retrieve a wooden pole which he is alleged to have struck Greg Jones with.
In his statement he said: “They were drunk and angry and baying for blood.
“I used my hands to protect myself. At no point am I aware of striking anyone with anything.”
Police put it to Blake that he armed himself with the wooden pole after violence broke out when Adam Finn was punched.
During the second interview two hours later Blake was shown still pictures taken on a mobile phone showing himself standing next to a bouncer called Mario with a wooden pole in his hand. Blake said he recognised the pole as one used for patio umbrellas and said it had been thrown as a missile.
“If it’s in mine or Mario’s hands it’s because it was thrown at us. I can remember shouting at the crowd to get back and calm down. I had to raise my voice because it was chaotic.”
Police also told Blake the pole had been retrieved from the garden centre next door but Blake said he could not account for how it got there.
By the final interview a few hours later, Blake was shown CCTV footage of himself going inside the premises to get the pole from behind the bar. He said his intention was to use the pole to wedge the doors shut after getting all his staff inside but he said he saw his bouncer Mario under attack and went to assist.
When asked why he didn’t say that in the first place. He said: “It is stressful and traumatic. I am tired.”
He said he was not aware of hitting anyone.
Officers who attended the scene told the jury that no debris was seen outside the bar where the incident took place.
The case continues.