Terror at axeman in the street

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court
  • Russell, 38, pleaded guilty to offences of affray and possessing an offensive weapon
  • He was given 18 months prison, suspended for two years, with 18 months supervision
  • Co-defendant Holden, 44, admitted affray
  • She received 12 months prison, suspended for two years, with an activity requirement
  • Russell had pleaded guilty on the basis that psychosis and drink may have made him feel he was under attack
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A Blackpool family’s joy at a wedding celebration turned to fear when they were threatened by an axe-wielding neighbour.

Anthony Russell raised the weapon towards them and then started chopping violently at a telegraph pole.

I’m going to get tooled up

He was drunk at the time, as was Wendy Holden, his accomplice, who was then seen knocking on windows.

Preston Crown Court heard the incident left children who were in the area at the time frightened.

Russell, 38, pleaded guilty to offences of affray and possessing an offensive weapon.

He was given 18 months prison, suspended for two years, with 18 months supervision.

Co-defendant Holden, 44, admitted affray. She received 12 months prison, suspended for two years, with an activity requirement.

The defendants were living in Osborne Avenue, Blackpool, at the time of the offences in September 2013.

Sarah Griffin, prosecuting, said a group of people were returning from a wedding at the time. It was about 1am when Russell was seen behaving bizarrely.

He ran outside and shouted towards them. The group tried to ignore Russell who shouted: “I’m going to get tooled up”.

Around 20 minutes later Holden was seen knocking on windows. Her face was up against the windows and she refused to leave.

Meanwhile, Russell had armed himself with an axe.

Miss Griffin told the court: “The defendant raised the axe towards them and made threatening gestures. He then chopped at a nearby telegraph pole.

“He went from being threatening with the axe to becoming extremely calm.

“Holden got involved and pushed a male towards the chest, causing him to stumble backwards into a car.”

Russell had pleaded guilty on the basis that psychosis and drink may have made him feel he was under attack.

Holden claimed in her basis of plea she had been very drunk and lost her temper.

In the past she had felt intimidated by someone who lived in the area, she claimed.

Jonathan Lally, defending Russell, said his client had long-standing problems with alcohol. This had led to him to seeing psychiatric professionals at a very early age.

Katie Jones, defending Holden, said her client had found herself suffering an addiction to drink.

She had undertaken a detox programme, of some length, but on the night of the incident had drunk alcohol.