A former stockbroker has been jailed for kicking a passenger ‘like a penalty’ and punching another man when a violent brawl erupted during a cruise ship’s late night buffet.
The drunken fight broke out after couple Paul Evans, 45, and Tabatha Young, 43, became angry when a family asked them to stop swearing as they dined on board P&O’s Royal Britannia ship.
Young – a popular YouTuber – attacked fellow holidaymaker Sarah Gardner, a nurse who had retired to the Horizon Buffet with her husband Justin Gardner and her two daughters after attending a family disco.
Then Evans, a financial advisor who previously worked as a stockbroker, assaulted statistician Mr Gardner, before kicking project manager Andrew Irving as part of a ‘brutal attack’ when he attempted 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 as if he were ‘taking a penalty’.
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
Andrew Irving (pictured) suffered a knee injury that requires surgery after being ‘kicked like a penalty’ which he fears will affect him permanently
Young, a mother of three, pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm and today sobbed as she was handed a nine month jail sentence suspended for two years in what judge Nicholas Rowland described as a ‘close shave’.
Evans had denied one count of robbery and three counts of assault causing actual bodily harm following the extraordinary scenes during the early hours of July 26 2019, claiming he had simply been trying to protect his girlfriend.
But the 45-year-old was found guilty by jurors of two counts of actual bodily harm at Southampton Crown Court, Hants, last month.
The Gardners had attended a family disco with their two daughters when they retired to the buffet, but became upset by language coming from the neighbouring table.
A fight quickly broke out after Evans, of Clayhill in Essex, was overheard saying he wanted to ‘s***’ and ‘f***’ their 16-year-old daughter Amelia, the court heard.
Evans had also claimed he was acting in self-defence but the judge said ‘there was no need for defensive force’ as he jailed Evans for 21 months.
Paul Evans, 45 was jailed for 21 months after he was found guilty of two counts of ABH against Mr Gardner and Mr Irving
Tabatha Young (pictured during a YouTube interview) wept in court as she was handed a nine month suspended prison sentence in what was described as ‘a close shave’
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
Judge Rowland said: ‘There were other family members [in the buffet]. You two – Evans and Young – arrived worse for wear – that is an understatement. You were swearing at each other.’
‘You [Young] were making inappropriate comments. You cannot remember any of it but things became darker when Evans started making grossly offensive comments. You were abusive to the [Gardner’s] daughter.
‘[Young] started the violence. Mrs Gardner intervened and she says she was bitten. There was evidence of head butting and punching.
‘Evans then became involved. I do not accept that this was self defence. There was no need for defensive force to be used. You punched Mr Gardner on the ground.
‘You punched him on the back of the head and a witness described it as ‘brutal’.’
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
Families ran to hide during the late-night buffet fight that broke out aboard the P&O Royal Britannia ship (pictured in 2015)
The seven day trial had heard that as they dined the Gardner family became upset by the language from a neighbouring table and had a word with the couple.
Young, who interviews boxers on YouTube, and their eldest daughter, 21-year-old Alice Gardner, then became involved in an altercation.
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 48-year-old Mrs Gardner by ‘rugby tackling’ her to the ground, snatching her 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.
Mrs Gardner said Tabatha Young, (above) ‘punched and attacked’ her 21-year-old daughter during the late-night buffet
Mr Irving, who was there with his wife and 10-year-old granddaughter, 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’.
In a victim impact statement he today told the court he suffered a knee injury which now requires surgery, adding: ‘The impacts on the way I live my life will affect me permanently.’
The trial had heard that after he was captured on CCTV hurling the phone into the sea, Evans returned to the dining room and the brawl continued before he and Young were eventually restrained by security.
They were taken into custody by police once the ship docked at Southampton, Hants.
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 last month.
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.
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.’
Detective Constable Lisa Robins from the Western Investigation Team said ‘This was a nasty incident that happened on board a cruise ship in front of families and children.
‘Nobody should have to tolerate inappropriate and abusive language or behaviour. Alcohol can often lead to violence and we simply won’t tolerate it. Having a few drinks does not excuse criminal behaviour, in any setting.’
A P&O Cruises spokesman said: ‘We will not tolerate disruptive behaviour on board our ships’