Two men appeared in a UK court and were charged with the New Year’s Eve murder of Tanis Bhandari, a 27-year-old builder on Monday, January 5, 2015.
Donald Damian Pemberton, 20, and Ryan Williams, 21, both of St. Budeaux, Plymouth were also charged with possession of an axe and a knife in a public place, Devon and Cornwall police said. The pair did not enter pleas, but stood in court and spoke only to verify their names, addresses, and dates of birth. Both men will continue to remain in police custody until their appearance at Plymouth magistrates court early next week.
Bhandari, a former member of the Royal Navy, was rushed to Derriford hospital with serious injuries but was pronounced dead upon arrival. The post-mortem evaluation reviewed Bhandari died of a fatal stab wound to his back.
Bhandari was killed during the early hours of New Year’s Day as he was on his way home from the King’s Arms pub in Plymouth. Four people were seriously injured during the “major disturbance” outside the pub located in the historic village of Tamerton Foliot. Three of the men are now recovering at home, while a 21-year-old remains in serious but stable condition at the hospital.
Horrified onlookers reported the incident to police, who arrived shortly after 1:30 a.m. The kerfuffle spread from inside the village pub, which hosted a New Year’s Eve disco, to the small lawn outside.
According to senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Gregg Dawe, “An axe and knives have been recovered and searches are continuing in the Milford Lane area for any further knives that may have been used. I want to thank everyone who has assisted us with the police investigation so far. Searches and inquiries are continuing in relation to this incident.”
It is unclear what kind of axe was used in the brutal attack. A tomahawk (also referred to as a hawk) is a type of axe from North America. While tomahawks were originally used by Native Americans as both weapons and tools, the majority of today’s modern tactical tomahawks are used by military and law enforcement personnel as a multipurpose instrument.
The Kings Arms pub posted a statement on their Facebook page describing the brawl as a “terrible attack” on a “lovely group of people on the way home from a great night in our pub.” Hundreds of mourners have left flowers outside of the pub in memory of Bhandari.