By John Elworthy
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
SHAMED pub landlord John Wood insisted today he did fight off four attackers and only accepted an £80 fine for wasting police time “to get them off my back”.
Faced with being branded by police as a liar, the 37 year-old landlord of the Marshland Arms remains adamant he was attacked outside Franks’ fish and chip shop.
“The reason I accepted a fine for wasting police time was because I wanted the whole thing finished,” he told me.
“The police even asked me if I had made up the story for publicity for the pub. If I had done it for that reason I would have paid for an advertisement in the paper”.
Mr Wood described how he was asked to attend Wisbech Police Station yesterday afternoon for what he thought was to be “a non formal interview”.
Two detectives quizzed him, he said, and explained they had examined CCTV in the area and would find no footage of the alleged attack.
“They asked if I had caused the injuries to myself- asked if my fiancée had done it or had the kids done it by accident,” he said.
“I told them if you carry on like this then forget it. They kept saying to me ‘you have something to tell us’ and one said it would have been happened if it had happened on a country road since people in Wisbech would be up in arms that it had happened there.”
Mr Wood said: “It was the most bizarre moment of my life being interviewed by people who didn’t believe me. Where did they think the injuries came from for goodness sake?”
He said the detectives told him they couldn’t find any trace of the attack “even though I had been whacked round the head.”
He has 14 days to pay the fine or face a court appearance “and now I am not sure what I should do. I have never been in trouble with the police and it’s all completely new to me.
“When I thought I was withdrawing my statement it was to get it finished, once and for all. I was being accused, everyone around me was being accused- I couldn’t believe it.
“They also told me they wouldn’t make it public. They told me not to worry- even if it does get into the paper it will be one line.”
Mr Wood said police also suggested at one point he was self harming “but because they didn’t have a camera pointing at that exact spot it was a case that they were saying it didn’t happen.”
Ten minutes after we spoke Mr Wood emailed to say a police statement about the incident “was gravely mistaken. They haven’t told you the attack actually did happen, on a road in the Wisbech area.
“I was told due to them actually spending time on the case I would have to a pay a fine. I said anything just to get this bloody matter finished. So they wrote up a statement, I signed it and left thinking that was over.
“Now these lies are being bandied about.”
A police spokesman said “a man had reported to have been attacked outside Frank’s Fish & Chips, in Lynn Road, Wisbech, on February 7.
“He claimed four men had attacked him, hitting him over head and stabbing him after he refused to hand over his wallet.
“Officers began to investigate the allegations but soon realised his version of events did not add up.
“The 37 year old admitted he lied when he was interviewed yesterday.”