Neighbour threatened with baseball bat after lockdown party row

Exeter Crown Court

Exeter Crown Court. - Credit: Archant

A concerned neighbour was threatened with a baseball bat after trying to stop a lockdown breaking party in communal gardens outside his home. 

Christopher Gibbons became so angry at the neighbour that he rushed out of his house with the bat raised above his head and ran towards the elderly man. 

Other party goers restrained him before he could land a blow but he still grabbed the victim by the neck before being pulled away from the melee at Links Close in Exmouth. 

A judge at Exeter Crown Court said Gibbons had gone crazy and said it was lucky that he was stopped from reaching the victim. 

Gibbons has now been banned from any form of contact with his next-door neighbour by a restraining order and put on a tagged overnight curfew until Christmas Day. He is now trying to arrange a house-swap. 

The incident happened in June last year during the final weeks of the first Covid lockdown when the victim became alarmed that the communal gardens inside the enclosed square of houses were being used for a near constant party. 

He went to remonstrate with the revellers because he thought they were not observing social distancing rules. 

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Gibbons, aged 55, of Links Close, Exmouth, admitted affray and common assault and was jailed for ten months, suspended for two years and curfewed for four months by Judge Timothy Rose. 

The judge also imposed a three-year restraining order banning any contact with the victim and ordered him to do 12 days of rehabilitation activities. 

He told him: “This is a serious offence. You went pretty crazy on this occasion. Whatever the background, you went for him with a weapon. You lost your cool and came out with a baseball bat over your head. 

“You made as if to hit him and it seems you did intend to hit him. Who knows what terrible consequences may have happened if you had done so? I shudder to think what might have happened if others had not intervened.” 

Mr Paul Grumbar, prosecuting, said the incident happened on June 15 last year and was broken up by other neighbours. The victim had gone out to remonstrate about an impromptu party in the communal garden and Gibbons became angry about the interference. 

He was disarmed but still grabbed the victim around the neck and dragged him to the ground. 

Mr William Parkhill, defending, said Gibbons has been doing well on a community order imposed for assaulting a police officer a few months later and has a good report from the probation service. 

He has stuck to bail conditions which prevented contact with his neighbour and is now trying to get a house swap so he can avoid any risk of further conflict.