Archive

Tag Archives: Orford

Mark Beneke threatened to kill Helen Jones Labour MP for Warrington North

A man wielding a hunting knife threatened to kill an MP saying he would “Jo Cox her” after his benefits were cut.

Mark Beneke, 49, ranted at social workers and demanded to know where Helen Jones , Labour MP for Warrington North, held surgeries.

The unemployed alcoholic yelled: “It’s people like her who have put people in this position. I’m going to go there and Jo Cox her.”

Judge Andrew Menary, QC, said: “That was a particularly sinister threat, given the tragic circumstances in which Jo Cox MP herself lost her life.

“It was designed to be shocking, it was shocking and you reinforced that threat at the time by picking up a hunting knife – a fearsome weapon.”

Labour MP Jo Cox, 41, died after being shot and stabbed ahead of a constituency surgery in Birstall, West Yorkshire in June 2016.

Far-right terrorist Thomas Mair was found guilty of her murder and sentenced to life imprisonment with a whole life order.

Liverpool Crown Court heard Beneke was made redundant due to a back injury and had problems managing his benefits and “coping with life”.

Social workers Myra Chester and Barrie Heap went to his home with a food parcel and to talk about his financial difficulties on August 2 this year.

Christopher Taylor, prosecuting, said Beneke referred to a text message from the Department for Work and Pensions, which asked him to access his account.

Beneke said: “I’ve been summonsed like a dog. I’m not putting up with it, they’ve gone too far now.

“I don’t want to be here but if I’m going, I’m taking someone with me. They have pushed it too far this time, the f***ing c***s.”

After referencing Jo Cox, Beneke picked up a serrated “survival” knife, as frightened Mr Heaps and Ms Chester backed away.

He said: “I’m sorry, I know you’re just trying to help, it’s not your fault.”

The pair reported the incident and when police arrived they discovered an arsenal of weapons, including three axes and more knives.

Beneke told officers he had a “hatred” for Mrs Jones “because she is an MP” and that Mrs Cox “meant nothing to him”.

Mr Taylor said: “He said he knew she was murdered by a man because she was trying to take his home from him.

“He was asked for his thoughts on her and said he didn’t care. He said he wouldn’t deny that he wanted Helen Jones dead.”

Ms Chester was left distressed, had to take time off work and is now considering looking for another job.

Beneke, of Grasmere Avenue, Orford, was found guilty of making threats to kill and admitted possessing cannabis.

He has four previous convictions for four offences, including dishonesty and criminal damage, but was last convicted in 2003.

Jonathan Duffy, defending, said Beneke’s difficulties were “the catalyst for his rant”.

He said he accepted becoming “extremely angry, emotional and frustrated” and he “momentarily lost control”.

Mr Duffy said: “He felt as though the recently imposed cuts to his benefits were an outrage in comparison to how those in the upper echelons of society were being treated.

“He said some very unkind, disparaging and inappropriate comments, hateful in many ways, and he is now ashamed.

“He never had any serious intention of causing Mrs Jones the anxiety and distress he caused her, let alone an intention to actually cause any violence towards her.

“He voted for her and is a long standing supporter of the Labour party.”

The lawyer argued Duffy – “a collector of knives” – had spent 19 weeks on remand and effectively “served his time”.

Judge Menary said it was a “peculiar incident” and that Beneke abused alcohol after losing his job.

He said there was no legitimate reason for him to have the hunting knife and ordered its forfeiture, along with the other weapons.

Judge Menary said the concern of Mrs Jones and the social workers was “perfectly understandable”.

However, he accepted the threats were “out of character” and noted Beneke was deemed to present a low risk of re-offending.

The judge said: “The feeling is it was the drink talking, rather than you.”

He handed him 18 months in prison, suspended for two years, a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement of up to 20 days and an alcohol treatment course.

Judge Menary also imposed a restraining order, preventing Beneke from contacting Mrs Jones.

Liverpool Echo

Jenks

A THUG who targeted two strangers in a racist attack in Orford leaving one of the victims unconscious and in desperate need of hospital treatment is now behind bars.

Ryan Swindells, aged 20, of East Avenue, Orford, was handed a three year sentence after pleading guilty to a section 20 assault and affray.

The court heard how two men of Iraqi-Kurd origin were walking along Orford Lane on April 4 at 6.40pm when they heard shouting and swearing from a group of men on the other side of the road.

One of the men – later identified as Swindells – could be heard shouting racist abuse and crossed the road to approach the two men.

Prosecuting Paulinus Barnes said: “One of the victims thought if he was nice to him he would walk away but the other males were encouraging him.

“He then put his head towards one of the victims in a threatening manner.”

A fight broke out with at least four others getting involved in the street brawl.

At one point CCTV showed three men kicking one of the victims while on the floor.

One of the victims later lost consciousness and had to be put in the recovery position by a member of the public – his face covered in blood from the attack.

The victim was taken to Aintree Hospital where he was treated for head injuries and a fractured collar bone.

Defending Swindells, David James said both the defendant, who has struggled with binge drinking and a cocaine habit, and the victims were ‘giving as good as they can get’ during the fight.

He added: “Having spoken to this young man this is not a man who is proud of his actions.

“He is embarrassed by them and he is disappointed he is in court again.

“He is deeply ashamed he has used racist terms as he does not feel he is an ingrained racist.”

Swindells has a number of previous convictions – one racially aggravated.

Declan Jenks, aged 21, of Alder Lane, and Joshua Williamson, aged 21, of Marsh House Lane, were also sentenced at Warrington Crown Court on Friday for their involvement in the brawl.

Jenks was sentenced to two and a half years in prison after admitting a section 20 assault, affray and breach of a suspended sentence.

Williamson pleaded guilty to affray and must carry out 160 hours of unpaid work, 35 days of rehabilitation activity and a thinking skills programme.

The court heard how Jenks, who has a previous convictions for drunk and disorderly and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, originally became involved in the fight to break it up.

Defending Jenks, John Banasko, said: “Unfortunately initially he had good intentions effectively to assist Mr Swindells as he was originally in the minority but he did become involved and he did throw punches.”

He added that he was not involved in the racist abuse and did not kick the victims.

Williamson, who has a previous conviction for a public order offence in 2014, did not throw any punches and was not involved in the racist abuse but chased one of the victims up the street.

Defending Williamson, Michael Whitty said apart from one previous conviction, the defendant’s behaviour was ‘out of character’.

He said: “He is a young man and he clearly has ideas about what he wants to do during his life.

“When it is the right time he wants to join the marines. He has ideas for his life that does not involve coming back to court.”

Sentencing, Judge Nicholas Woodward said this would have been a ‘disturbing incident’ for members of the public to witness.

He added: “It started with Swindells making racist comment towards them for no apparent reason.

“Not content with that you [Swindells] then came over from the opposite side of the road towards them and they were trying to diffuse the situation but you were clearly looking for a fight.

“In a macho way you put your head towards his showing aggression.

“When they did not respond you started to punch out.”

THE MUM of Lee Swindells was forced to apologise to a judge after lashing out as her son was led down to the cells.

Judge Nicholas Woodward ordered for Lynn Swindells to be detained by a police officer after she refused to be silent during the sentencing of her son.
Share article

While Ms Swindells could have faced proceedings under the Contempt of Court Act following her verbal outburst the judge decided only to issue her with a warning after she apologised for her actions.

Ms Swindells could be seen crying in the dock after spending part of the afternoon in the cells while she waited to find out her fate.

Warrington Guardian

Dec