Tragic battle to save knife victim

The Black Horse on Fore Street. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 0297-40-13SH To order your copy of this

The Black Horse on Fore Street. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 0297-40-13SH To order your copy of this photograph go to and click on Photo Orders. - Credit: Archant

Black Horse death: Pubgoers tried to revive pensioner, says landlady

THE landlady of Sidmouth’s Black Horse pub has told how staff and customers battled in vain to save a pensioner who was stabbed to death as he enjoyed a pint.

Lynnette Helmer says a normal night of good-humoured fun ended in horror last Thursday – and traumatised witnesses are still struggling to come to terms with the incident.

Holidaymaker Brian Kemp, 71, was mortally injured by a two-foot blade and died at the scene despite the best efforts of onlookers.

Lynnette’s son Francois was among those to rush to the aid of Mr Kemp, from Nottingham, and attempt to revive him and stop the bleeding.

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A doctor and nurse who were in the pub took over the effort before police and paramedics arrived.

Detectives leading the investigation have praised the public for their efforts.

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Nicholas Jameson, 41, of Old Fore Street, Sidmouth, appeared at Bristol Crown Court charged with murder on Tuesday.

Regulars have laid flowers in part of the pub to honour Mr Kemp – despite no-one knowing him.

“He was a smartly dressed, quiet gentleman… drinking a pint,” said Lynnette, who has run the Black Horse with Francois, 31, for nearly a decade.

The 63-year-old has issued a ‘heart-felt’ thank you to her ‘community customers’ for their support.

She has also asked some ‘unthinking’ townsfolk to refrain from asking people who were in the pub about the incident - and allow them time to come to terms with it.

Lynnette said around 30 people were in the Black Horse last Thursday night with a friendly darts match taking place.

“It was a fun night and everybody was enjoying themselves. There was no bad atmosphere,” she said.

Lynnette described what suddenly followed ‘out of the blue’ as ‘awful’ and ‘horrific’.

As some raced to Mr Kemp, other customers dialled 999, manned the doors to warn any incomers, and ran out into the street to flag down the emergency services.

“Everybody was very calm and very controlled and did excellently what needed doing,” said Lynnette.

“Unfortunately it wasn’t enough for the man.”

“Our hearts go out to his family. Customers have laid flowers. He is not forgotten.”

Lynnette cancelled the band that was due to play at the Black Horse last Friday and witnesses have been consoling one-another by talking about the incident together.

“There were a lot of people in the pub and some aren’t coping very well with it,” she added.

“They are struggling to come to terms with being there on that night.

“Two or three people are not sleeping, and are very upset. It’s fresh in their minds. People keep asking for all the gory details. It would be nice if this could be kept to a minimum.”

Lynnette pleaded to townsfolk: “For the sake of people that are struggling to deal with it – please don’t ask them for visual accounts.”

She added: “On Saturday, the pub was just as usual. A lot of locals came in – so many came to offer their help and support. I can’t thank our community customers enough for the backing they have given us.

“It [the incident] was one of those extremely random happenings that isn’t likely to repeat itself.”

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