Baseball bat revenge error

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court
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A man who turned up on a family’s doorstep and swung a baseball bat went on to admit “I’ve got the wrong person”.

Preston Crown Court heard how William Shields had got himself worked up to a “frenzy” over a perceived insult.

Judge Anthony Russell QC

Judge Anthony Russell QC

He ended up calling at an address on Hunter Road, Freckleton, one night and telling the man inside: “I’ve come to get you”.

The 50-year-old, of Auster Crescent, Freckleton pleaded guilty to a charge of affray and was placed on 18 months’ supervision.

Robert Smith, prosecuting, said a man was at home with his wife and grown-up children, on November 19, when there was a loud bang on the front door.

His wife went to answer the door and he was stood behind her.

Shields was on the doorstep, holding a white baseball bat. He was not known to the couple, said the prosecution.

When asked who he was, the defendant said: “I’ve come to get you”.

Mr Smith added: “The defendant swung the bat towards him, but missed.

“The homeowner grabbed the defendant by the throat and restrained him in the front garden until the police arrived and arrested him.

“While the defendant was on the ground he said ‘I’ve got the wrong person’, to which the homeowner replied ‘yes, I think you have’.”

Shields told police he was a long-term alcoholic who had relapsed after nine months off drink.

He had overheard someone saying a man had been spreading rumours about him and so had thought he would go and “sort the guy out”.

Sarah Booth, defending, said her client had endured a troubled childhood, which he dealt with by drinking. Alcohol had blighted his life and he had been drinking prior to the offence.

Miss Booth told the court: “He had developed a state of frenzy about somebody he perceived was insulting him and decided to take issue.

“The defendant says the victim has taken retribution himself and was fined £250 two weeks later for an assault on him.”

Matters had since concluded and there was no ill feeling between the two men.

Sentencing Shields, Judge Anthony Russell said: “On any view, they didn’t deserve it to happen to them.

“You yourself admit you got the wrong house or wrong place.

“It must be understood that violence and threatening violence can never be justified.”

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