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Saturday, 20 September 2014

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Cumbrian man threatened neighbour with Samurai sword

Terrified children ran for cover when a drunken man confronted one of his neighbours with a Samurai sword after years of ill-feeling boiled over on a west Cumbrian street, a court heard.

Craig Grayson, 27, fetched the sword from his home to threaten 33-year-old Gareth Beattie after the two men clashed in Brierley Road, Cleator Moor, one afternoon last May.

He later said he did it because the police had done nothing when he had made previous complaints about Mr Beattie’s behaviour.

At Carlisle Crown Court, Grayson, who has now moved to Rutland Avenue, Hensingham, Whitehaven, in a bid to keep out of trouble, was given a suspended prison sentence after admitting affray.

Iain Simkin, prosecuting, said the incident happened on May 2 soon after Grayson had been involved in a confrontation with neighbours Jacqueline Allen and Fiona Beattie after drinking six litres of strong cider.

He said there was some doubt about exactly what had happened because some of the prosecution witnesses had failed to turn up to give evidence.

He said it was unclear whether Mr Beattie, who had convictions for “public order offences and acts of violence”, had been outside the house throughout the incident, as Grayson said, or whether he had arrived later, as he himself claimed.

And he said he could not prove that Grayson had run along the street wielding the sword, as the prosecution witnesses had claimed, or whether he had kept within the boundaries of his own garden as he maintained.

All that was certain was that Grayson had gone into his garden shouting threats and abuse and wielding the Samurai sword.

At least two neighbours called the police, with one of them saying: “The kids are terrified. They’ve come in screaming.”

Grayson pleaded guilty to affray but denied a separate charge of carrying the sword in a public place. That charge was left lying on the court file.

Grayson said Mr Beattie had been standing outside his house, “threatening and provoking” him.

He said he fetched the sword partly to protect himself and partly to scare Mr Beattie off.

“I would not have harmed anyone,” he said.

Grayson was given a 10-month prison sentence, suspended for two years and put under probation supervision for one year. He was also made to pay £150 court costs, with a £120 statutory surcharge.

The sword has been confiscated.

The judge, Recorder Andrew McLaughlin told Grayson he should keep off drink.

“Your low IQ is not helped by consuming large quantities of alcohol,” he said. “In fact it’s a recipe for disaster.”

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