Six people were assaulted after a man objected to smoking in an outside dining area.

Gareth Byron Richards, of Princess Royal Way, Haverfordwest, pleaded guilty to six charges of common assault when he appeared before Haverfordwest magistrates on Tuesday, September 3.

Vaughan Pritchard-Jones, prosecuting, said Richards, 37, went to a Haverfordwest fast-food restaurant just after midnight, on April 20, and took exception to a group sitting at an outside table because they were smoking.

He swore at them, calling them ‘filthy’ before pushing the first man in the face with an open palm, a second man was punched in the face when he tried to step between them to protect his friend.

A third received ‘two quick punches’, before Richards walked away, turned and returned to push the first victim to the floor and punch the second in the face.

Richards grabbed the third man by the scruff and threw him to one side, then punched a fourth person in the back of his head, and grabbed another who was trying to get away. A woman fell as she tried to hold on to the fourth victim as he was thrown to the floor.

A member of staff intervened as Richards went to grab the first victim’s jacket while he lay on the floor, and he walked away.

When interviewed Richards stated he ‘just snapped’ after words were exchanged. He added he had drunk 20 pints of beer.

Jonathan Webb, defending, said Richards had not consumed alcohol since the incident because of his ‘shame and remorse’.

“He wishes to formally apologise to the people involved on that night. He acted totally over the top.”

Mr Webb said Richard thought the group laughed at him after making a flippant comment at his expense, adding that the incident only lasted 90 seconds.

Magistrates imposed an 18-week prison sentence, suspended for two years

Richards was ordered to pay £600 in compensation, costs and a surcharge.

The chairman of the bench said: “This was a particularly nasty attack.”