Man sentenced to 20 years for Plaistow pub killing

Reece Hussain Picture: MPS

Reece Hussain Picture: MPS - Credit: Met Police

A man who killed a pubgoer with a kitchen knife after a bar brawl has been jailed for 20 years.

The Army & Navy Public House, where Edward Stokes was killed earlier in the year.

The Army & Navy Public House, where Edward Stokes was killed earlier in the year. - Credit: Archant

Reece Hussain, 22, of no fixed abode, was sentenced at the Old Bailey this morning for the manslaughter of 29-year-old Edward Stokes, who he stabbed twice in a Plaistow pub before stabbing and wounding two other people.

Judge Paul Worsley said Hussain, who knifed the three men at the Army Navy Public House in New Barn Street in the early hours of March 19, had destroyed the Stokes family with his actions.

“You have ruined the life of Edward Stokes,” he said. “You have ruined the life of the family of Edward Stokes.”

He added: “[Mr Stokes] will no longer celebrate with them Christmases, birthdays and anniversaries.”

Judge Worsley explained that Hussain, who was charged with but denied murder, had been involved in an earlier brawl between two other men, Billy Williams and Bernard McDonagh, before the fatal stabbing.

Mr Stokes, his family and friends were still celebrating St Patrick’s Day in the pub when Mr McDonagh spotted Billy Williams, a man he had previously had dealings with.

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“[Mr McDonagh] unwisely approached [Mr Williams] and punched him in the face,” Judge Worsley said, explaining that Hussain “appears to know Mr Williams”.

A fight followed but soon ceased, with Judge Worsley adding: “That should have been the end of it.”

In CCTV of the fight, Hussain can be clearly seen wielding a “large kitchen knife”, the judge said.

At this stage Hussain – after the departure of Mr Williams – went into the saloon bar, still holding his knife, and “calmly” collected his drinks while speaking to Mr Stokes. “Edward Stokes then unwisely punched you in the face,” Judge Worsley said to Hussain.

He added that Hussain, who had worked as a painter and decorater, then responded by stabbing Mr Stokes twice, leaving an eight-inch wound to his stomach.

Hussain then went to leave, but stabbed both Bernard McDonagh and Dylan McDonagh before disposing of the knife and fleeing.

The two men, who Judge Worsley said would not have approached Hussain if they knew he had a knife, were not seriously hurt.

In mitigation, Timothy Cray QC said his client had “lost control” in a “fast-moving situation”.

“Stokes was bearing down on [Hussain] and struck the first blow,” Mr Cray said.

“Clearly the defendant felt the need to defend himself. It’s clear the jury didn’t think that was reasonable in the circumstances.”

He added that Hussain lives each day with the knowledge that a man is dead because of him.

“He is truly remorseful,” Mr Cray said.

For the unlawful wounding of Dylan McDonagh, Hussain was sentenced to two years imprisonment.

For the wounding with intent of Bernard McDonagh, he was sentenced to six years imprisonment to run concurrently.

Running consecutively with the above, Hussain was sentenced to 14 years in prison for the manslaughter of Edward Stokes.

In response to Judge Worsley’s decision, several people in the public gallery cheered loudly and shouted at Hussain.

Charges against another man, George Forde, were dropped on November 2 due to a lack of evidence.