BREAKING: Man charged with murder after pub landlord stabbed to death in beer garden


Christian Thornton, 49, was found near the Hammer & Pincers pub in Widnes, Cheshire, after police were called to reports of a serious assault at 3.20pm on Sunday.

He died at the scene in Liverpool Road.

Lee Abbott, 35, of no fixed address, has been charged with the murder of Mr Thornton and possession of an offensive weapon.

He is due to appear from custody at Warrington Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, said Cheshire Police.

A 39-year-old woman who was arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender has been bailed pending further inquiries.

(Pic: PA)


Christian had been managing the pub – one of the oldest in the area – for two decades.

The beloved landlord is known have held a number of charity fundraisers at the family-friendly venue.

He was described by pals as “a lovely man” and a “hero”.

Cheshire Police deployed additional officers to “provide reassurance” following the attack. 



Local politician Derek Twigg said he was “deeply saddened” by Mr Thornton’s death and added that he had asked police to keep him informed on the progress of their investigation.

The Labour MP for Halton wrote on Facebook: “I am deeply saddened by the tragic death yesterday of Christian Thornton, long-serving and popular landlord of the Hammer & Pincers pub in Widnes.

“I am horrified that he was stabbed to death carrying out his job, nobody should be carrying knives in our community.

“I send my condolences to his family, friends and staff at this very sad and difficult time.”


Chief Inspector Simon Parsonage, who is in charge of policing in Widnes, said: “Understandably the local community will be concerned about what has happened.

“I would like to reassure those living locally that we are doing everything we can to establish the circumstances of what has happened.

“Extra officers will be patrolling the area overnight and into the morning to provide reassurance.

“If you have any concerns at all please speak to an officer.”


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