Man stabbed in fight during gipsy funeral

The Greyfriars Church in Iffley Road

Police activity at The Plain and Cowley Place

First published in News The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Contact me on 01865 425422

A MAN was stabbed in the neck during a large brawl after hundreds of people turned out for a gipsy funeral in Oxford.

The 31-year-old from Oxford was injured at about 11.20am yesterday during a funeral service being held at the Grey-friars Church in Iffley Road.

The service was for 76-year-old Winnie Joyce, a mother of 13 children, grandmother to 64 and great grandmother to 45.

Her family lives at the Redbridge Hollow travellers’ site, near Kennington, which she helped set up with husband Christopher Joyce.

Emergency services and the police helicopter were called in yesterday to deal with the incident, after crowds of people poured out on to Iffley Road. It is not clear exactly where the stabbing happened.

The victim suffered superficial injuries to his neck and was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital.

A man who attended the funeral, who did not wish to be identified, said: “There were two families – not Joyces – who have their own argument going on. It has been going on for a while.

“When they met they started fighting. That was completely disrespectful.”

Police confirmed Iffley Road was closed for about 30 minutes while they dealt with crowds.

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Reports of the numbers involved in the incident and attending the funeral varied considerably.

Police declined to confirm how many officers were sent to deal with the incident.

The mourner said: “There was blood everywhere. The police were there at the start but only two of them.

“There were over 100 people involved in the fight – what could they do?”

Robyn Cuthell, manager of The Cape of Good Hope pub in Iffley Road, said: “I saw a lot of police, probably about 30 or 40 at one stage.

“There were a few police cars going past and a motorbike.”

Resident Adam Hazell was visiting his mother in Cowley Place at the time.

He said: “I have never seen so many police in one place. About 100, possibly more.

“Cowley Place was swamped with officers and vehicles.”

After the funeral service, mourners drove to Wolvercote Cemetery at lunchtime.

Following the earlier issues there was a police vehicle on Harbord Road and patrol cars parked along Banbury Road.

Police are appealing for witnesses to contact them on 101.

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