Hornchurch pair deny frying pan attack at Smithfield market

Smithfield market London.

Smithfield market London. - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Two Hornchurch men orchestrated a violent attack using a frying pan on a porter at London’s historic Smithfield market, a court heard on Tuesday.

Prosecutor Sam Brown told a jury at the Old Bailey that Daniel Sparkes, 26, of Westlands Avenue, Hornchurch, and an unidentified suspect ambushed John Collis from behind while he was handling parcels of meat.

He alleged the pair hit Mr Collis over the head with a frying pan, punched and kicked him.

Mr Brown said the two attackers co-ordinated the assault with another Smithfield worker, Nicholas Cook, 23, of Great Nelmes Chase, Hornchurch.

Both Mr Cook and Mr Sparkes deny inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent and inflicting grievous body harm.

Mr Cook worked in the unit next to Mr Collis. The court heard that Mr Cook was seen speaking on a mobile phone shortly before the attack

at 4.50am on December 19,

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Mr Brown said that CCTV cameras show Mr Cook joining in the assault, punching Mr Collis and apprehending porters whilst the other assailants escaped.

He continued: “He [Mr Cook] knew John Collis was going to be assaulted at some point and it was intended that John Collis was caused really serious harm.

“The persons carrying out that attack were working together in a planned attempt to achieve that aim.”

Jurors heard the attack left Mr Collis with a six-centimetre

gash down to the bone on his forehead.

Mr Brown said: “You may consider it extremely fortunate that the injuries he suffered were not much worse.

“That weapon was some form of frying pan or griddle or saucepan and was used as a blunt instrument that broke in the course of this crime.

“The prosecution say that was a deliberately aimed blow to the base of John Collis’ skull.”

The trial continues.