7:00am Wednesday 14th May 2014
By SNJ Reporter
A 21-year-old Stonehouse man took an axe from his home and used it to smash a neighbour's front door during a street confrontation, a court was told on Friday.
Benjamin Stoodley, of Juniper Way was initially a peacemaker during the incident on the street where he lives, on March 11, last year.
But Gloucester Crown Court heard he then got involved himself after going home for the axe.
Stoodley pleaded guilty to having an offensive weapon during the incident and also admitted damaging neighbour Kevin Hill's front door.
He was sentenced to four months jail suspended for a year and ordered to do 60 hours of unpaid work. Recorder Jonathan Barnes also ordered him to pay £200 costs and an £80 surcharge.
"A dispute arose between some of your neighbours," said the Recorder. "I accept you initially may have tried to act as a peacemaker.
"But the time came when you lost control of yourself and returned to your home address and you armed yourself with an axe. You went to the home of one of those involved in the dispute, Mr Hill, and you used the axe to strike at his door to enable access to be gained to the property."
The Recorder said he felt able to suspend the sentence because Stoodley was effectively of good character.
Another defendant was also due to be sentenced today for her role in the incident.
Melanie Bromwich, 21, also of Juniper Way, had admitted criminal damage and having a knife in a public place.
But she did not turn up for today's hearing and the Recorder accepted that she may not have received notification of the date. The Recorder adjourned her case till May 23 for her to be contacted.
Prosecutor Janine Wood said the incident broke out when Mr Hill and his partner left their home and got into a confrontation with Bromwich and another man, Daniel Thomas.
Mr Hill was allegedly head butted by Thomas and then produced a metal bar before running back into his home. Thomas went after him and was joined by Bromwich and Stoodley, who had an axe and smashed the glass in the front door.
Bromwich returned home and fetched some kitchen knives which she threw towards Mr Hill's house.
"Bromwich, Thomas and Stoodley then entered Mr Hill's house and there was a struggle with him," said the prosecutor. "The police arrived and found the axe."
Lloyd Jenkins, for Stoodley, said "He admits he should have walked away. At the outset there were two children and their dog at the scene and he took them away to a place of safety. But foolishly he then returned to this scrap.
"There was absolutely no reason for him to get involved and he says he doesn't know what came over him. In the heat of the moment he went and fetched the axe but says he delivered only one strike with it."
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