Stockbroker convicted of attacking passengers in violent cruise brawl

Stockbroker, 45, is convicted of kicking a fellow cruise ship passenger ‘like a penalty’ and punching another man in violent brawl after they asked him and his YouTuber girlfriend to stop swearing

  • Paul Evans attacked statistician Justin Gardner and project boss Andrew Irving
  • Other passengers on cruise through the Norwegian fjords watched on in horror
  • Evans, of Clayhall, Essex, was today convicted of causing ABH to the two men 
  • Partner Tabatha Young previously admitted causing ABH to Mr Gardner’s wife

A former stockbroker was today convicted of kicking a passenger ‘like a penalty’ and punching another man in a violent cruise ship brawl after they asked him and his YouTuber girlfriend to stop swearing.

Paul Evans assaulted statistician Justin Gardner, who was aboard the P&O vessel with his wife and two daughters, before kicking project manager Andrew Irving when he tried to intervene. 

A court heard other passengers, who had been enjoying a ‘spectacular’ cruise through the Norwegian fjords, looked on in horror as ‘intoxicated’ Evans punched and kicked the men.

The fight on board the Royal Britannia ship had been sparked when the Gardners asked Evans, 45, and partner Tabatha Young, a social media star, to tone down their language as they dined in the Horizon buffet. 

Mr Gardner and his nurse wife Sarah had taken daughters Alice, 21, and Amelia, 16, to a family disco when they retired to the buffet but became upset by the swearing from a neighbouring table.

Mrs Gardner told the jury she tried to film Evans on a phone for ‘evidence’ as tempers flared and he grappled with Alice.

The court heard he then turned his ‘rage’ on Mrs Gardner, 48, by ‘rugby tackling’ her to the ground, snatching the mobile phone and hurling it out to sea, although he said he had simply taken the phone as he feared she would use it as a weapon.

Mr Irving, who was on board with his wife and granddaughter, 10, said he couldn’t stand by so went to help, but was then knocked to the ground and kicked by Evans ‘like he was taking a penalty’.

Evans, who now works as a financial advisor, denied one count of robbery and three counts of assault causing actual bodily harm following the extraordinary scenes on July 26, 2019, claiming he had simply been trying to protect his girlfriend.

Today, Evans, of Clayhall, Essex, was cleared of attacking Alice and robbing Mrs Gardner of the phone, but convicted of causing ABH to Mr Gardner and Mr Irving, after the jury deliberated for more than six hours.

Young, who interviews boxers on YouTube, pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm against Mrs Gardner last year.

Paul Evans assaulted statistician Justin Gardner, who was aboard the P&O vessel with his wife and two daughters, before kicking project manager Andrew Irving when he tried to intervene

The fight on board P&O’s Royal Britannia ship had been sparked when the Gardners asked Evans, 45, and partner Tabatha Young (pictured), a social media star, to tone down their language as they dined in the Horizon buffet

A court heard other passengers, who had been enjoying a ‘spectacular’ cruise through the Norwegian fjords, looked on in horror as ‘intoxicated’ Evans punched and kicked the men

Royal Britannia had just left Bergen, Norway, a few hours earlier and was five days into a seven night tour of Norway’s famous fjords when the brawl erupted. 

A suite on the Britannia for this cruise currently costs from £1,429 per person.

Its Norwegian Fjords Cruise Holidays are described by P&O as: ‘One of the most spectacular regions of the world. Cruising through the deep-blue waters of Norway’s UNESCO-protected fjords is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.’

During a seven day long trial, Southampton Crown Court heard the Gardners had headed to the buffet as their youngest daughter wanted something to eat before going to bed at 1am.

Prosecutor Mark Ashley told the court: ‘Mr Evans was intoxicated and when he was near their table, he was using language which a number of people found offensive.’

Mrs Gardner, a mother of three whose son had already gone to bed, wept as she told the court she became upset by his language which she believed was directed at Amelia.

She said: ‘I felt very anxious. We carried on ignoring him and then my eldest daughter said ‘please can you stop talking like that’.

‘Then [Tabatha Young] flew up from another table and started pushing her. I tried to separate Tabatha and Alice.

‘Then Mr Evans flew up from his seat and punched my husband who had been standing at the table with my other daughter who was very upset.’

The court heard Mr Gardner was struck on the side of the head before falling to the floor. His nose was bleeding, his glasses were smashed and he was rendered ‘unconscious’, his wife told the court.

Mrs Gardner claimed Evans then turned on Alice, adding: ‘Then I was trying to pull him off her. Then I felt calm and got my husband’s mobile phone from his suit pocket and started to film him so I could get evidence.

‘I was shouting for the kitchen staff but they were just all lined up watching us. It was quite frightening. I did not understand why they were not helping us.’

The court heard Evans then turned his ‘rage’ on Mrs Gardner, 48, by ‘rugby tackling’ her to the ground, snatching the mobile phone and hurling it out to sea, although he said he had simply taken the phone as he feared she would use it as a weapon

Evans and Young were eventually restrained by security and taken into custody by police once the ship docked at Southampton

Today, Evans, of Clayhall, Essex, was cleared of attacking Alice and robbing Mrs Gardner of the phone, but convicted of causing ABH to Mr Gardner and Mr Irving, after the jury deliberated for more than six hours

Young, who interviews boxers on YouTube, pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm against Mrs Gardner last year

After spotting he was being filmed, Mrs Gardner claimed Evans then turned on her and was captured on CCTV throwing the phone overboard.

She said: ‘He wrestled me for the phone. He was punching and kicking me. I was trying to hold on to the phone because my husband uses it for work. He (Evans) was in such a rage.

‘He pulled the phone off me and was twisting my arm. I knew what he was going to do with the phone and did not chase after because I was worried he would throw me overboard.’

However, Evans denied attacking either Mrs Gardner or her daughter Alice, saying he would ‘never hurt a woman’ and had simply knocked the phone from Mrs Gardner’s hand as he feared she would hit someone with it.

He told the court he only became involved in the incident in order to defend Young, who he believed was being attacked by the Gardners.

Fellow passenger Stuart Bishop, 46, who was on board with his wife Donna, told the court: ‘My regret is I did not do more at the time and react quicker. 

‘No human being should be kicked in that way. I thought he was going to kill someone to be honest with you.’

Evans and Young were eventually restrained by security and taken into custody by police once the ship docked at Southampton.

The pair will be sentenced next month. 

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