Exmouth residents left ‘frightened and shaken’ by ‘vicious’ street fights

PUBLISHED: 13:03 08 December 2017 | UPDATED: 13:03 08 December 2017

Exeter Crown Court.

Exeter Crown Court.


Afternoon drinking session led to a series of ‘vicious’ street fights in Littleham, Exeter Crown Court heard.

An afternoon drinking session led to a series of ‘vicious’ street fights in Littleham, Exmouth, when the host fell out with his ex girlfriend’s son.

Violence broke out at his home in Exmouth and carried on in a nearby street when the victim of the first attack went to confront his assailants.

Exeter Crown Court heard how the trouble started in Summer Close, Exmouth, on the late afternoon of November 9 last year and reignited a short while later in Nelson Drive.

The fights started after an argument between Simon Cavanagh when he was drinking at his home in Summer Close with friends including his ex partner Sharon Longbottom.

Police were called after her son Blake Longbottom got into a fight with Mr Cavanagh which ended with him punching and kicking him.

The argument flared up again a short while later when Mr Cavanagh and his sister Jennifer went to the Longbottom’s home in Nelson Drive.

A cat fight broke out between Jennifer and a friend of Mrs Longbottom called Mary Mernagh. A second incident involved Simon Cavanagh and a man called Kevin Rogers.

Mernagh, aged 48, of Liverton Close, Exmouth; Rogers, aged 38, of Roseway, Exmouth; and Blake Longbottom, aged 24, of Nelson Drive, Exmouth, all admitted affray when they appeared at Exeter Crown Court.

Mernagh was ordered to do 20 days rehabilitation activities with the probation service and pay £75 costs. Rogers and Longbottom were both jailed for six months, suspended for two years, ordered to do 125 hours unpaid community work and pay £250 costs.

Judge Graham Cottle told them: “It seems to me in all probability Mr Cavanagh must accept a degree of responsibility for what occurred that night.

“It was a particularly unpleasant incident and was witnessed by members of the public who were frightened and shaken by what they saw.”

Miss Bathsheba Cassel, prosecuting, said police were called to Summer Close at 5.30 pm but left without making any arrests. Residents at Nelson Drive called them later in the evening when the trouble flared up again.

She said Longbottom had admitted hitting Mr Cavanagh in the first incident but denied using a bottle. He also accepted he exchanged punches in the second outbreak of violence.

Rogers had tried to act as peacemaker in Nelson Drive but then become involved and aimed a kick at Mr Cavanagh, which did not connect.

Miss Cassel said neighbours saw Mernagh having a ‘cat fight’ with Jennifer Cavanagh, in which she kicked the other woman and was described as being ‘vicious’ by a witness.

Mr Lee Bremridge, for Rogers, said he was under strain at the time because his plumbing business was not going well and he had temporarily split up from his partner. He now has a full time job and his relationship has been reconciled.

Mr William Parkhill, for Longbottom, said he responded to aggression from Mr Cavanagh and accepted he had over reacted. He works in a warehouse but is available to do unpaid work.

Mr Peter Coombe, for Mernagh, said she has no previous convictions and is the main carer for her elderly mother. She is herself vulnerable and has a background of depression.

She had admitted her involvement and expressed her remorse from the outset.

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