Stratford dancer ‘glassed his partner over Ibiza date row’, court claim

A member of a successful gay dance duo glassed his partner the neck in a row over their bid to crack the Ibiza club scene, a court has heard.

Owen Rowlands, 23, twice slashed Ulsterman James McGuigan with a broken wine glass in the basement of a Soho bar where they were performing, it is claimed.

The victim was left to stem the flow of blood from two gashes to the side of his neck which later required 36 stitches, Southwark Crown Court heard.

The pair, who had previously been “like brothers” during their six-year dance career, have not spoken a word to each other since, jurors were told.

Giving evidence to the court, a tearful Mr McGuigan said the defendant attacked him on the night of April 17 last year in the Village club in Soho.

He said: “We took a break in the staff area of the club, which is downstairs.

“We were talking about plans that we had for a holiday, and Owen wanted to change some of the plans that we had made.

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“The argument just escalated verbally. I pointed at Owen.

“He was sitting on the stairs in front of me and he got up and pushed my hand out of the way, and pushed my chest. I pushed him back.

“At that time, he had a glass in his hand, a glass of wine that he was drinking, and he jabbed it into the left side of my neck.

“I could just see blood everywhere, all over me, and I just panicked.

“In that split second, I thought I was going to die. I was just punching out and hitting out and trying to get him away from me.”

He added that he had not initially told the manager of the bar what had happened, because he was scared the duo would lose their work there, instead letting him assume that he had tripped and fallen on some glass.

Mr McGuigan said that he had known the defendant for six-and-a-half years, and that they had built a successful career as dancers in gay nightclubs.

He said that the pair had argued over their plan to go on a working holiday to Ibiza to try and get work in clubs there.

The row broke out over Rowland’s insistence on taking his new boyfriend along with them.

“I was annoyed and upset, because Owen had a way of always changing plans and not being reliable,” the witness said.

Cross examining the complainant, defence barrister Stefan Wiedmann suggested that in fact it was Mr McGuigan who was the aggressor.

He said that on previous occasions, the complainant had beaten up his client during a series of violent rows.

“You are the aggressive one. You’ve struck him before, and you struck him that night,” the lawyer said.

“He is a gentle, gentle man, with whom you had a bullying relationship.”

The witness replied: “I disagree with that. Otherwise he wouldn’t have stuck a glass in my neck.”

Rowlands, of (51) Jupp Road, Stratford, east London, denies one count of unlawful wounding.

The trial continues.