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Man dies at Norwich nightclub

PUBLISHED: 11:24 30 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:52 06 July 2010

The scene outside Chicago's nightclub this morning

The scene outside Chicago's nightclub this morning

A Norwich man has died in the second violent incident in 24 hours in the city's clubland. Another man, aged 22, is still fighting for his life after being assaulted the night before.

A Norwich man has died in the second violent incident in 24 hours in the city's clubland.

Another man, aged 22, is still fighting for his life after being assaulted the night before.

Police and club bosses yesterday said Prince of Wales Road, infamous for its night-time violence, is still a safe place to go at night - but this was contradicted by others, including a police superintendent speaking less than a month ago.

Phillip Ward, 46, from Drayton, died in the incident outside Chicago Rock Café on Prince of Wales Road at around 2.45am on Saturday.

Witnesses said Mr Ward, married with two children and two step-children, hit his head on the ground after being pushed. A 28-year-old Norwich man has been arrested and released on police bail.

Chief Supt Bob Scully refused to comment on the circumstances surrounding the death but said officers were not looking for anyone else, although they are keen for witnesses to come forward.

He said Norwich was not getting more dangerous, despite two serious incidents within 24 hours of each other and the alleged manslaughter of Timothy Moore just yards down the road in March.

Mr Scully said: “These incidents are very rare and unpredictable. Having a night out on Prince of Wales Road is a very safe, very good experience. We are working to ensure that it is. We have additional patrols on Friday and Saturday nights and we target them where they are needed. It is a very safe place to go out. My children go out here.”

Tony Belmonte, owner of Mojo's bar and club, is the longest-serving licensee on Prince of Wales Road after 35 years.

He said: “I don't think there is more violence now. There are 11,000 people around here on a Saturday night. For the amount of people, any trouble is very rare.”

Steve Perry, owner of Rocco's bar and club nearby, said: “I wouldn't say it is getting more violent now. You haven't got people fighting in the street. This is just a one-off incident.

“We all work together. We do our best to work with the police and council to tackle these problems.”

But he said there were “groups of guys who come out causing problems”, and police were aware.

David Richardson, who works in an office nearby, said: “I find it astonish-ing local police chiefs are suggesting Prince of Wales Road is as safe as it has always been, despite at least two recent violent deaths and a number of serious injuries normally inflicted in the early hours. This uplift in violence will surely continue as long as the police regard it as nothing out of the ordinary.”

In early May, Supt Nick Dean said recent incidents suggested Prince of Wales Road was slipping back to the bad old days and that police would increase their presence.

He said then: “We're not in the business of scaring people and it is in no way as bad as it once was. But at the same time there have been a number of worrying incidents and we need to act to address that.”

Chicago's remained closed on Saturday night. David Crabtree, chief executive of 3D Entertainment Group, which owns the Chicago Rock Café chain, said: “We are very sad about this unfortunate incident. We deeply regret this has happened.”

He said he did not believe there had been a fight leading to the man's death, and they were working with their door security company, Bridgegate, to look at the incident.

The previous serious incident happened outside Mercy on Prince of Wales Road at 1am on Friday. The victim is reported to have been punched and hit his head on the kerb as he fell. Last night he was still in a critical but stable condition in Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge. A 21-year-old man has been arrested and released on bail pending further inquiries.

And a 20-year-old woman was knocked unconscious after being assaulted yesterday. She was taken to hospital after the attack at Bowthorpe Park in Clover Hill Road just after midnight.

In March 30-year-old father-of-two Mr Moore, of Templemere, Norwich, was killed following a fight outside the Sing Sing club. Daniel Gooda, 26, of the Household Cavalry, is awaiting trial for manslaughter.

>Contact police on 0845 456 4567 with any information.

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