A ‘COWBOY movie’ bar brawler has been jailed for more than two years.

Anthony Ballard, 30, was on bail for an earlier attack in Chippenham when he was involved in the 20-man pub brawl at the Old Lane bar, Pewsham, in July 2019.

Jailing the Chippenham man for 27 months at Swindon Crown Court yesterday, Judge Peter Crabtree said: “One passing witness who was clearly frightened described it as being like one of the bar brawls in a cowboys movie.”

He added: “You played a leading role in the affray, in my view, emerging to knock down one victim certainly then repeatedly using violence against him in circumstances that fanned the flames of the affray as well as punching others.”

Three other men, Oliver Needham, Joshua Patton and Michael Patton, were sentenced last year for their part in the brawl.

The court has previously heard the violence erupted between two groups drinking at the Old Lane pub on July 5, 2019.

At one point in the evening, two members of their group went over to another group – out celebrating a birthday – and asked to borrow their guitar, adding that if the instrument wasn’t handed over they would steal it.

There was another exchange of words around 45 minutes to an hour later, which led to the birthday party moving off to another part of the pub.

A member of the Patton’s group later went to the toilet. As he emerged he bumped into a man in the other group, muttering “don’t mind me”. He was headbutted.

Almost immediately, a 20 man brawl erupted in which punches were thrown and at least one chair used as a weapon.

One of those injured in the fight was taken by ambulance to Great Western Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a laceration through the top of his right ear. His front teeth had been damaged. In a victim impact statement, he said the incident had affected his self-confidence.

Ballard, of Unity Street, Chippenham, had denied affray and ABH, relating to an assault outside a pub in Chippenham on May 26, 2019, but changed his pleas in December.

In mitigation, it was said he had remained out of trouble for a year and the recent birth of his son had had a positive impact upon him.

Judge Crabtree noted the mitigation, but said the affray was aggravated by Ballard’s previous convictions for violence, the fact he was subject to a community order at the time, the prolonged nature of the incident and the fact alcohol fuelled the violence.

Imposing 27 months’ imprisonment, the judge told Ballard: “I have reduced the sentence to the minimum that I can in accordance with my public duty.”