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Port Tennant man is cleared of wielding a hatchet and hammer at his neighbour

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: February 15, 2013

Chris Thomas

A MAN has been cleared of wielding a hatchet and hammer at his neighbour but received a dressing down from a judge.

Christopher Thomas, 46, of Port Tennant Road, was found not guilty of affray, possessing an offensive weapon and a bladed article.

But Recorder Keith Bush told him that, although most people who had been acquitted left "without a stain on their character" he would not.

"I think in your case, as your counsel has rightly said, there could have been other charges that you could have faced where the outcome could have been a very different one," said Recorder Bush.

"For whatever reason the prosecution have chosen to charge you with these offences and you have been found not guilty," said Recorder Bush.

He said although it was not "normal" for him to comment on a jury's verdict, he said he was "not surprised" by their verdicts.

"There's no getting away from the fact that on the day in question you acted in a very antisocial and unneighbourly and foolish way," said Recorder Bush, at Swansea Crown Court.

"You're going to have to live in this area with your neighbours. It seems to me you have a lot in common with them in relation to your love of animals so I wouldn't like them to think that somehow you have won in any kind of dispute with them over this dog."

Mr Thomas had denied "wielding" a hammer in St Leger Crescent after he became angry at a dog owned by Maria Herridge and her partner Richard Foot.

Mr Thomas said he had tried to stroke the dog, but it had lurched at him, prompting him to go get the hammer. As he returned to his neighbour's address, which is two doors down from his, he also denied picking up a hatchet belonging to his neighbour and holding that in his hand.

Mr Thomas said he had taken the hammer with him in case the "nasty" dog turned on him.

Mr Foot said he had warned his neighbour not to go near the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, called Gizmo because he did not like strangers.

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