Man attacked friend with golf club and threatened to burn down his house in row over pick-up truck

A man attacked a friend with a golf club in front of a young child and threatened to burn down the homes of relatives after falling out over the sale of a pick-up truck. Matthew Ace had asked Gary Thomas, who sells car parts, if he would sell his pick-up truck, but Mr Thomas declined saying he believed the vehicle had been cloned. Following his decision, Swansea[1] Crown Court was told Ace visited Mr Thomas' home address in Llansamlet[2] on August 15, and told Mr Thomas' sister Diane Carr, who lives a couple of properties away, that "everything is getting burned tonight".

He then visited Mr Thomas' mother's address and confronted Mr Thomas with a golf club, claiming he was owed GBP3,000 for the sale of his truck. Prosecuting, Helen Randall told the court that Ace, of Banwell Street in Morriston, then swung the golf club at Mr Thomas, hitting him the arm, before smashing the windows of a vehicle. He then swung the golf club again, hitting Mr Thomas in the ribs, before running off.

The assault on Mr Thomas was aggravated by the fact it had taken place in front of his 12-year-old son.

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Ace returned later with a golf club, and damaged the vehicle of another relative of Mr Thomas. Ms Randall told the court: "Following that incident, Diane Carr called the defendant to ask what was going on. "He was screaming 'tell him his house is getting done, the car and the house, everything is getting burned out tonight, everything is getting done'.

"'I do not care. Everything is getting done'". The following day in a completely unrelated incident, Ace was spotted on someone's private CCTV in the Swansea dock area[3] around 3.30am, where he was seen breaking into a vehicle and removing items, including a bag with cables inside estimated to be worth around GBP1,400, and using keys to attempt to enter the property. 

Ace was later identified from the CCTV images by a police constable. Later that day Ace once again called Mr Thomas' family, and repeated threats to "burn everything". Mitigating, Dyfed Thomas said Ace had shown remorse, and that he and Mr Thomas, who was said to have a scrap yard in Bridgend[4] , had had a relationship with buying and selling items for cars.

He added: "He was disappointed about the pick-up truck and it caused him to lose his temper for which he is sorry. "He is from a supportive family, with a partner of a one-year-old. He is deeply sorry he has failed his partner.

He is disappointed he has let them down and for some time now he will be unable to perform the role he wishes to perform [for his family]." He added there were signs Ace's offending "was not becoming as repetitive as before" and he hoped to return to the motor trade "to provide for his family in a lawful way". The court was told Ace had 35 convictions for 126 offences.

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Sentencing, Judge Geraint Walters said: "You have pleaded guilty to a catalogue of offending.

Quite frankly what possessed you? "You admitted carrying out an assault on your victim by battering him with a golf club due to some disappointment over a pick-up truck. "Even if it was a legitimate disappointment between you and him your conduct is completely inexplicable, it was well over the top and there was no justification whatsoever for it.

"Part and parcel of your assault on him was the damage to two motor vehicles. You made serious threats to burn his house down causing understandable concern to your victim and his family. "Overnight following that spree you stole for a motor vehicle of a man unconnected with with the dispute the day before and attempted to burgle his house at night."

He added: "You are completely and utterly off the rails. You do not have much previous for violence but you have shocking form for dishonesty. You are not a boy, you are 31.

"Dyfed Thomas representing you outlined the effect of your behaviour is having on your partner and the fact you have a young child. "Trust me, men like you produce the next generation of men like you. If anything should bring you to your senses it is what the life will be like for your boy in 15 years.

Do not come weeping and wailing  - you have the ability to put him and her first. "I have checked where you live, but your behaviour gives the impression you live in the Bronx. You have no respect for anything or anybody, or the law.

"The public are rightly fed up of people like you behaving in this way". Ace had pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, two charges of criminal damage, theft from a motor vehicle, and attempted burglary, as well as threated to commit criminal damage. He was sentenced to six months for ABH and two months for the criminal damage, to run concurrently.

For threatening to burn down the house he was sentenced to six months to run consecutively; three months for the theft from the car and eight months for the attempted burglarly, to run concurrently, and four months for making arson threats - making a total of two years.

References

  1. ^ Swansea (www.walesonline.co.uk)
  2. ^ Llansamlet (www.walesonline.co.uk)
  3. ^ Swansea dock area (www.walesonline.co.uk)
  4. ^ Bridgend (www.walesonline.co.uk)

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