Biker suffered 'ferocious' attack after refusing to join Hells Angels because he was too old, jury told

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A biker was partially blinded by a gang of Hells Angels after he refused to join their UK chapter saying he was "too old", a court heard.

Christopher Harrison, 53, was left unconscious in a pool of blood when Angels leader Matthew Barnes, 46, and other gang members allegedly targeted his eyes to stop him identifying them after the attack.

He suffered from two ruptured eyeballs and told how the blows were 'raining in' on him after an argument with Mr Barnes' co-defendant Oliver Wilkinson, 49, at the Carlisle Pub in Hastings.

Around 200 people had gathered at the biker pub to watch punk band named '90% Proof' play, with around 20 Hells Angels attending, a court heard.

With the music blaring, Mr Wilkinson took Mr Harrison, nicknamed "Swaggers", outside into the picnic area of the pub for a chat.

The pair had once been friends, but had fallen out over the death of a fellow biker called "Papa Smurf" several years earlier.

Oliver Wilkinson is a member of the Sussex Chapter of the notorious motorcycle gang which is famed for riding Harley-Davidson bikes

Oliver Wilkinson is a member of the Sussex Chapter of the notorious motorcycle gang which is famed for riding Harley-Davidson bikes Credit: Central News 

Wilkinson allegedly asked Mr Harrison to join their Hells Angels chapter, before bringing out Mr Barnes to speak to him.

Mr Barnes was allegedly identified by police as head of the chapter by a patch on his leather jacket that said 'President'.

Mr Barnes allegedly asked Mr Harrison: "Why would you not wear these colours?" before starting the attack by headbutting him in the face.


Bartender Anne Penfold ran outside after seeing several Hells Angels returning to the pub 'pumped up', jurors heard.

She saw Mr Harrison unconscious on the patio and hailed a passing police van.

Mrs Penfold described seeing "blood spatters" on the pub wall following the assault.

Prosecutor Nicholas Cooper said: "The prosecution case is that both defendants were members of the Hells Angels and that Mr Barnes is the president of the Hells Angels Sussex chapter.

"Mr Wilkinson was part of the Hells Angels as a support crew member.

"Mr Harrison was not a member of the Hells Angels, but he was a biker.

"The allegation is that both defendants, with others unknown, punched and kicked Mr Harrison to his head and face with such ferocity that both his eyeballs ruptured.

"That night at the Carlisle Pub there was a concert, the band were called "90 Per Cent Proof"."

Mr Cooper described the build up to the attack outside in the picnic area of the pub, with an argument over biker gangs sparking the attack.

He told the court: "Mr Wilkinson asked Mr Harrison if he was interested in becoming a Hells Angel.

"Mr Harrison said he was too old. Mr Wilkinson then said: "I'll get someone to talk to you".

"He came out with the president, Mr Barnes. Harrison thought straight away that there was an attitude in the way that he came out.


"Mr Barnes said: "Why would you not wear these colours? They're perfectly good colours.

"Mr Harrison said: "You get all sorts of colours here, I'm just not interested. You get blue and whites, referencing to other groups or gangs.

"Barnes replied: "I hate black and whites, all black and whites should die.

"And with that he flew in and headbutted him. Harrison said from then on the punches started to rain in.

"They knocked his legs from behind so that he fell to the ground."

Mrs Penfold was told by Wilkinson: 'If you talk to the police you and your children are next'.

Barnes, of Washington, West Sussex, and Wilkinson, of Leonard's-on Sea, East Sussex, both deny causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Later, Recorder Brian Altman QC discharged the jury and said the case was being put off until July.

He said the reason was because the case was going to run over its two-week estimate, causing problems for at least two jurors.

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