Grass cutting row led to attack with baseball bat


Staff reporter (Leader Live)

A MAN set about a neighbour with a baseball bat in a row over grass cuttings.

Michael Anthony Clarke, 55, now faced the prospect of losing his council house home, Mold Crown Court heard yesterday.

Clarke, of Ffordd Pennant, Mostyn, had admitted at an earlier magistrates’ court hearing he assaulted John MacDonald on March 9, occasioning him actual bodily harm.

Sion ap Mihangel, prosecuting, told how Mr MacDonald suffered a cut behind the ear and bruising to his right arm.

Grass grew through the fence from the next door property and he had cut it and threw the grass back over his neighbour’s fence.

There was clearly a background of ill-feeling and a short time later Clarke, the partner of the woman who lived next door, climbed over the fence shouting carrying a black and white baseball bat.

Clarke swung the bat and shouted he was going to kill him.

The victim was struck to the head, behind the ear. When he put his arm up to protect himself, his arm was struck a further three or four times.

After he left, the victim continued to work in his garden but then realised he was bleeding.

The following day, the defendant was arrested at his home address and the baseball bat was recovered from the pantry. DNA tests showed there was blood from the defendant and the complainant on it.

In a basis of plea, not accepted by the prosecution, he said he had lost his temper and had struck the other man twice to the arm. He had not aimed for the head, he said.

But after Judge Dafydd Hughes indicated he would adjourn for evidence to be called, Clarke admitted the full prosecution case against him.

He received a 52 week prison sentence, suspended for a year, and sent on a 10 session anger management course.

Clarke was tagged to ensure he remains indoors for three months between 8pm and 8am and a five year restraining order was made not to approach his victim in anyway.

The judge told Clarke there were countless neighbour disputes up and down the country which related to bad feeling but no more.

“You however accept that on this occasion that you took the law into your own hands and armed yourself with a weapon,” he said.

The victim must have been very fearful to be confronted by a man with a baseball bat.

But he agreed a suspended sentence would meet the justice of the case.

James Coutts, defending, said it was not simply a matter of the grass cuttings. There had been a neighbour dispute for a long time and his client accepted that day he lost his temper.

The defendant was a man who was in constant pain after an injury 15 years ago. 

It all happened in the spur of the moment, he had pleaded guilty at an early stage and was full of remorse.

See full story in the Leader

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