Hartlepool noisy neighbour row led to machete threat, court heard

A noisy neighbour dispute ended with one man confronting another with a garden machete.

Tuesday, 30th January 2018, 2:53 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th January 2018, 3:35 pm
The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.

Mark Oxley had a year-long dispute with his neighbour in Hill View in Greatham, with both claiming the other was making too much noise, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Johnnie Walker, prosecuting, said: “There had been a history of disputes for which the police had been called many times,

“The arguments seemed to be mostly about noise.

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“Matters came to a head in July of last year when the victim was at home with his son.

“They both heard loud noise.”

Mr Walker said the victim’s son knocked on Oxley’s front door to speak to him.

“When Mr Oxley opened the door he was seen to be carrying a garden machete,” Mr Walker added.

“The son sought refuge in his father’s house, with Mr Oxley following still carrying the machete. Oxley reached the father’s house and punched the window.”

In a statement summarised in court, the victim said the incident had left him frightened of what else might happen, and fearful of leaving the house.

Oxley, 48, of Alford Court, Hartlepool, denied making threats to kill, possessing an offensive weapon and affray, all on July 24, last year.

On the morning of his trial he pleaded guilty to possessing an offensive weapon and affray.

Martin Scarborough, defending, said in mitigation: “Mr Oxley’s view is there was fault on both sides, although he accepts he was clearly at fault on this day.

“Since this incident, he has been bailed to live at his mother’s address.

“There has been no further contact with the victim, and Mr Oxley is confident he will be able to gain permanent accommodation away from where he used to live.

“He does have problems with his mental health, and has been assisted with those by support workers.”

Judge Tony Briggs sentenced Oxley to nine months in prison, suspended for two years, and 20 days of rehabilitation activity.

The judge told him: “Guilty pleas are always important, but particularly so in cases of this nature.

“When someone in a heightened state of emotion arms themselves there is always a risk the confrontation will escalate, leading to serious injury or death.

“Thankfully that didn’t happen in this case, so it is just possible to suspend the inevitable custodial sentence.

Oxley was made the subject of a restraining order banning him from contacting his victim or entering Hill View for three years.