Scott Apps denies attacks at York Minster service

York Press: Scott Apps Scott Apps

A MAN allegedly attacked two people at a service in York Minster attended by both the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, a jury heard.

As a procession including the choir and archbishops was moving up the South aisle for the morning service for the General Synod, Scott Apps got up from his seat in the congregation in the central aisle, Michael Jowett, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court yesterday.

He said a steward, Sean Atkinson, realised Apps would be in the way as the procession turned down the central aisle and gestured to him to move out of the way, but was approached and punched to the side of his head.

He told Apps to calm down as the procession continued but at the rear were the two archbishops followed by the Archbishop of York’s driver, David Wright-Smith.

“He was keeping an eye on the archbishop as he normally would,” said Mr Jowett. “He had heard on his radio there had been an assault to one of the stewards and was pointed towards Mr Apps.

“When he walked over this defendant again made a fist and hit Mr Wright-Smith to the face.”

The jury was told his broken nose immediately began to bleed and there was a scuffle as he and Mr Atkinson and others tried to restrain Apps, who was then arrested. He claimed to police he acted in self-defence because he thought he was going to be struck.

Apps, 42, of no fixed address, denies assault by beating to Mr Atkinson and assault causing actual bodily harm to Mr Wright-Smith at the service on July 7.

The jury panel was asked before selection to declare if they were regular attenders at services at York Minister but none did so.

Mr Atkinson told the court he had been a volunteer steward at the Minster since 2008 but it was the first General Synod service he had worked at.

He said: “He walked straight up to me, clenched his fist and punched me on the side of the head without saying anything.”

By then the procession had reached them and he said he told Apps to “stay there and keep calm”.

Behind the archbishops at the back of the procession was Mr Wright-Smith. “I saw him strike him in the face as well and I immediately saw blood.”

Although still feeling dazed Mr Atkinson said he went over to try and assist him in securing Apps.

“He was lashing out and he caught me. I seem to remember I was kicked and I was knocked back. My head was knocked back against one of the glass doors and that immediately shattered.”

He said the three of them hit the ground and he remembered seeing a big pool of blood from Mr Wright-Smith on the floor as others came to their assistance.

Mr Atkinson told the jury Apps was shouting and swearing including: “Get off me you muppets.”

Minster police arrived and when police officers arrived Apps was arrested. The service carried on.

Mr Atkinson said both archbishops had spoken to him to see how he was.

Michael Collins, defending Apps, suggested he had been walking towards a table to collect a book for the service and perceived Mr Atkinson was acting aggressively towards him because of the quick way he moved towards him.

He denied some medication he had taken that morning affected his memory or made him aggressive.

The trial continues.

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