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Kevin Gaffin, 41, stormed round to the victim’s home in a fit of rage suspecting he was to blame for him being banned from pubs in Weybridge

A feud between two members of a working men’s club ended with one of them threatening to chop the other man’s head off with a meat cleaver.

The simmering tension came to the boil after Kevin Gaffin, 41, suspected Scott Rowlatt was to blame for him being banned from pubs in the Weybridge area, a court heard on Thursday.

The defendant, who was carrying a meat cleaver, stormed round to Mr Rowlatt’s home in Weybridge and caused £1,000 worth of damage to his van and vowed to decapitate him, Guildford Crown Court was told.

Gaffin, of St Mary’s Road in Weybridge, was jailed for three years after pleading guilty to making a threat to kill, criminal damage and unlawfully having a bladed article in a public place.

The court was told there was bad feeling between the two men, who were both members of Oatlands Park Working Mens Club, Weybridge.

Nick Hall, prosecuting, said the defendant went to the house where Mr Rowlatt was living on September 16 last year.

“The defendant was intoxicated and was carrying a meat cleaver,” he said.

Mr Hall said Gaffin banged on the door which was answered by another man who tried to calm him down.

He said that the defendant shouted: “I’m going to chop his f*****g head off.”

Mr Hall said during the disturbance, Gaffin struck Mr Rowlatt’s van repeatedly causing an estimated £1,000 worth of damage.

“He blamed Mr Rowlatt for getting him banned from bars in Weybridge,” he said.

Police were called and the defendant was arrested.

The court heard Gaffin had previous convictions for threatening behaviour and being drunk and disorderly.

Keith Goodhand, defending, said his client had been drinking when the offences were committed.

“He’s under no illusions that it’s going to be custodial sentence this afternoon,” he said.

Mr Goodhand stressed Gaffin had only carried the meat cleaver and had never actually brandished it in any way.

“He had a burning sense of grievance at the time,” he said.

Passing sentence, Judge Jonathan Black advised Gaffin to take steps to control his drinking and his behaviour to avoid coming back to court in future.

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A SERIAL blade carrier claimed he had a Swiss lockback knife shoved down his sock because he was going to fix it.

James Marsland made the bizarre claim that the lockback knife had broken when he and his cousin tried to cut around empty plastic bottles to make cups at a last-minute house party.

He had gone out to buy more alcohol with a friend, with the knife stuffed in his sock, when he was spotted by cops in an unmarked car on Howatshaws Road in Bellsmyre on July 22 at 9.40pm.

The 21-year-old, who has two previous convictions for knife carrying and had been in custody since the most recent incident, appeared at Dumbarton Sheriff Court last week after admitting possessing the knife in a public place.

Malcolm Macleod, fiscal depute, said: “The accused was asked if he consented to being voluntarily searched. He raised his arms and said ‘search away, I have nothing on me’. A lockback knife was recovered in his sock. He was immediately cautioned and explained that it was a Swiss lockback knife and that he had it because he was trying to fix it for his cousin because it was broken. He said he was on his way to the shops.”

Marsland’s case had to be stopped and called again – after the wrong knife was brought before the sheriff’s inspection.

Court staff had retrieved a similar looking deadly blade from Marsland’s file following one of his previous convictions.

Roddy Boag, Marsland’s defence lawyer, confirmed that a spring on the knife was broken.

He said: “On the night this happened he went to his cousin’s house and there was an impromptu party and alcohol was being consumed. There were empty plastic bottles in the house and his cousin used this knife to start cutting around the bottle to make cups for the drink which was in the house and the accused had the knife as well. The knife is broken but the locking mechanism is still working.

“He told his cousin he would try and fix it and he put it down his sock and forgot it was there. He left the house with one of the girls to go to the local shop to buy more drink. It is a somewhat unusual explanation and that is what he told police.

“His lack of judgement seems to be because of drink. He cooperated fully with police and consented to them searching him, which confirms his position that he forgot it was there. He understands that a sentence is inevitable.”

Sheriff Simon Fraser said: “This is your third conviction under section 49 for possession of a knife. You just do not seem to be learning. The maximum sentence a court can inflict on you for this is four years, so bear that in mind for next time you decide to take a knife out.”

Marsland was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Daily Record

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A trio of men arrested in connection with a major national demonstration by a controversial far right-wing group in Exeter have appeared in court.

Kurtis Coyle, Daniel Holmes and Steven Hart were brought before Exeter Magistrates today following the English Defence League (EDL) march in the city on November 16.

Coyle, 21 from Heavitree, was given a suspended prison sentence of four weeks after he admitted the possession of a knuckle duster in the The Chevalier Inn, Fore Street as well as the possession of a class A drug.

He claimed he was planning to take the weapon “to a mate’s house” after apparently buying it online for £10, the court heard.

Coyle was ordered him to pay costs of £165, and was told the drugs – 1.4g of cocaine – would be destroyed.

Daniel Holmes, 30 from Exwick, issued no plea after being charged with the possession of a knife on Queen Street. He was granted unconditional bail and his case will be heard at Exeter Crown Court on January 3.

Steven Hart, 48, from the Pinhoe area of Exeter, was given a custodial discharge of six months after admitting being drunk in a public place.

Hart, who was described as a “long-term alcoholic”, was found lying down on a pavement under the influence of alcohol and unable to stand unassisted, the court heard.

A fourth man arrested – a 49-year-old Surrey man – had been given a fixed penalty notice for being drunk and disorderly in the city centre on November 15.

Chief Inspector Jim Gales, of Devon and Cornwall Police, described the day as a “success” for the force.

“We had to intervene at times to prevent outbreaks of disorder, making a very small number of arrests,” he said.

“But what we [were] able to do [was] to facilitate peaceful demonstrations and allow the inhabitants of Exeter to go about their daily business safely.”

More than 200 people travelled from across the country for the EDL march and rally in the city centre.

But a total of 1,000 people, under the banner of Exeter Together, paraded down the streets earlier in the day and gathered for a rally to condemn the group.

A mounted police unit from South Wales were among a total of 400 officers from as far away as Birmingham who were tasked with patrolling activities.

City centre manager John Harvey described the police operation as “excellent”, saying the force ensured it remained “business as normal”.

“It could have been a day that tarnished the city, but actually it enhanced its reputation. On lots of levels, we can be very proud,” he added.

Some 225 EDL supporters gathered at the Locomotive pub on New North Road before marching along the road, down Queen Street to Rougemont Gardens flanked by police.

Angry exchanges took place between opponents and protestors who chanted “You’re English no more” and “whose streets, our streets” as they marched.

Two protestors donned burqas – traditional Islamic dress – and were seen to imitate Muslim prayer in the middle of a street.

Exeter News & Echo