Landlady ‘in shock’ as Staveley murder probe begins

The Beechers Brook pub on High Street in Staveley.
The Beechers Brook pub on High Street in Staveley.

A Staveley landlady has spoken of her shock after a man died a week after being allegedly assaulted outside her pub.

Peter Matts, 69, died last week after being allegedly assaulted outside the Beechers Brook pub on High Street on Wednesday, June 21.

Police believe the people in this picture may have witnessed the incident.

Police believe the people in this picture may have witnessed the incident.

Following the alleged assault, Jason Knowland, 45, of High Street, Staveley, was charged with assault occasioning grievous bodily harm.

But after the victim’s death, Derbyshire Police launched a murder inquiry.

The landlady of the Beechers Brook pub, Maxine Scott, said the alleged incident came ‘literally out of the blue’.

She said: “It was just a totally normal random day - there isn’t normally a lot of trouble here.

It is absolutely awful and has come as a shock to everybody.

Landlady, Maxine Scott

“We’re like one big happy family - the regulars are a lovely bunch.”

Maxine, 48, said the alleged incident had left her worried for the safety or herself and her customers.

“I’m getting all the cameras redone now - inside and out. That’s being done on Monday.

“At the end of the day you just never know. I want to sleep at night.”

The Beechers Brook pub on High Street in Staveley.

The Beechers Brook pub on High Street in Staveley.

The landlady has only been in charge of the pub for six months, having leased it from Keith Bannister who runs the nearby Tilly’s Tavern on High Street and Harleys on Market Road.

She described Mr Matts as a ‘lovely guy’ who always said hello to everybody when he went to the pub.

“He kept himself to himself but he was a really nice guy,” she said.

“It was only his birthday previous week.

The Beechers Brook pub on High Street in Staveley.

The Beechers Brook pub on High Street in Staveley.

“It is absolutely awful and has come as a shock to everybody.”

Others in the area said they were struggling to understand how something like this could have happened in what is regarded locally as a quiet pub.

A woman who works nearby said that there was the ‘occasional’ bit of trouble at the pub but ‘nothing too serious’.

The woman, who did not want to be named, said she had heard the victim was one of the nicest people who went in the pub, a view backed up by others in the community.

“It is just such a shame,” she added.

Staff from nearby businesses confirmed that police had been conducting inquiries in the area, including at the Ladbroke’s betting shop, the Curry Leaf Indian restaurant and the Beechers Brook pub itself.

Officers investigating the alleged assault have released a CCTV image of a man, woman and child who they think may have witnessed the incident.

The group - who were seen on High Street at around the time of the alleged assault - have been asked to make contact with police.

Anyone with information is asked to contact DS Adam Gasgoigne on 101, quoting reference number 17000262050.