“I don’t want people taking the law into their own hands”
A mum and dad took the law into their own hands and chased a man and his girlfriend with a machete and a lump of wood with screws in it.
Reece Davies, 31, and Tara McKenna, 28, turned vigilante when they set upon Callum Holden and his girlfriend Jessica Williams in Brisbane Place, Thornton Cleveleys.
The couple wiped tears from their eyes as Preston Crown Court heard they believed Mr Holden was responsible for stabbing Davies in front of their young daughter in February 2019.
On April 25 Mr Holden was getting out of his girlfriend’s car in Brisbane Place, Thornton-Cleveleys when they saw Davies run towards the vehicle. Davies kicked the wing mirror but as Ms Williams drove away she saw Davies holding a machete, and heard him shout: “You’re a dead man” at her boyfriend.
Mr Holden ran to his mother’s house, chased by Davies – who was carrying ‘something long’. Inside the house, the police were called and Ms Williams, who had driven away in terror was told to return to the address.
But Rachel Wood, prosecuting, said as Ms Williams returned to Brisbane Avenue, she saw Davies again, standing in the road. As she drove past him, he kicked the other wing mirror.
As she got out of the car, McKenna approached her, making threats. Ms Williams waited until McKenna backed off but when Mr Holden came out of the house, Davies appeared again and chased him, with the machete.
“He managed to shake off the defendant but during the chase the two women were left in the street”, Ms Woods said. As Davies lost sight of Mr Holden, McKenna pulled a piece of wood with screw sticking out of it from a bag and began swinging at Ms Williams.
As Ms Williams blocked the swings, the two women fell to the floor. Davies and McKenna then punched Ms Williams.
Witnesses rushed to help, saying the police were on their way, and Davies and McKenna picked up their weapons and ran – shouting threats as they fled.
The couple were arrested, but blamed their victims for the violence in the street. They said witnesses had made up their accounts of what had happened, Ms Woods told the court.
In a victim impact statement, Ms Williams said she was worried about future problems with McKenna and Davies and had struggled to sleep after the incident. She had been prescribed a course of sleeping pills and was fearful about leaving the house, she added.
Niamh Ingham, defending Davies, said although he had a number of previous convictions, there had been no further offences since the incident in 2019. He has an offer of a stable job in logistics and wants to get on with life with McKenna at the home they share in Blackpool.
James Heyworth, defending McKenna, said: “She witnessed the incident with her partner being stabbed and her daughter was also present. Her daughter was hysterical and had to be comforted nearby.” He said McKenna’s ambition was to be the best mum she could to their daughter, who had given her purpose in life.
Judge Andrew Jeffries, sentencing said: “The pair of you took the law into your own hands by first of all pursuing the man who stabbed you, but then his girlfriend. She is the one who ended up getting beaten up.
“If the period of three years hadn’t gone by you would be going downstairs (to the cells). It is a long time since April 2019. That is the only reason – not your daughter. If this was a current offence you would be going downstairs and you would have to explain to your daughter why.”
However he said delays in the case caused by Covid and other hold-ups in the justice system, coupled with the fact the pair have stayed out of trouble and seem to have ‘sorted themselves out’ meant he could suspend the prison sentence.
“Chasing innocent people, which Ms Williams certainly was, and getting involved in violence is a very serious business”, he said. “Taking the law into your own hands…. there has to be a deterrent sentence. It has to be a prison sentence, because I want the public to know how serious this sort of behaviour is.
“I don’t want people taking matters into their own hands where I might live and see people running in the streets with knives and sticks with bits of screws sticking out of them.”
He sentenced both defendants, of Mickleden Road, Blackpool, to eight months suspended for 12 months and ordered them to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work each. Davies must also pay £1,000 compensation to Ms Williams.
- 05:40, 20 OCT 2022
- UPDATED07:06, 20 OCT 2022