Fine handed down for bar brawl

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A man who battered a £10 million lottery winner in a “handbags at 10 paces” bar room brawl today (Thursday) avoided jail.

John Bowman, who scooped the huge National Lottery jackpot last April, was attacked by Marshall Baer at Forfar’s Burns Bar on Sunday, January 8.

Baer had stormed into the town centre pub to confront his girlfriend Janette Fyfe, who was drinking with Mr Bowman and a friend.

When Baer first assaulted her friend Kirsty Skinner Mr Bowman stepped in to try to calm the situation.

But instead Baer knocked the lottery winner to the ground and punched him on the head.

Fiscal depute Jill Drummond said Baer - who has two previous assault convictions - had shouted abuse as he attacked.

She told Forfar Sheriff Court: “The complainer Miss Skinner and Miss Fyffe had been texting the accused to the effect that his relationship with Miss Fyffe was over.

“Miss Skinner later called him on the phone and that prompted him to attend the bar.

“At 9.20pm the accused entered and approached the group shouting.

“He pushed Miss Skinner causing her to stumble.

“Mr Bowman intervened and told him to stop what he was doing.

“The accused grabbed him, pulled him to the ground and punched him on the head.

“The accused was pulled away and ejected from the bar.”

Baer earlier pleaded guilty on the day of his trial having at a previous hearing claimed he was acting in self defence.

But the 61-year-old, of Archies Park, Forfar, dropped that claim and pleaded guilty to two charges of assault at Forfar Sheriff Court.

He had his not guilty plea to an allegation that he assaulted former partner Janette Fyfe by pushing her, causing her to strike her head on a wall, accepted by the Crown.

He also had not guilty pleas accepted to behaving in a threatening and abusive manner during the bar incident and driving without due care or attention on the Dunnichen road between Forfar and Letham, Angus, driving at excessive speed, losing control at an s-bend, striking a pillar and causing the vehicle to overturn damaging the vehicle and the pillar and injuring himself.

Defence solicitor Nick Markowski said Baer had gone on to crash his car minutes after the incident.

He said: “Afterwards he drove off, came across a deer on the road and had to swerve and subsequently crashed his car, which was written off.

“He has since reconciled with his girlfriend.

“The whole thing was handbags at 10 paces and was over within seconds.”

Sheriff Gregor Murray fined Baer £400.