Woodbury Salterton man threatened Exeter Chiefs boss after New Year’s Eve drink and drugs party

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Archant

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

A masked intruder who threatened Exeter Chiefs boss Tony Rowe and his family with a Samurai sword had taken cocaine and drunk two bottles of champagne at an all-night New Year’s Eve party, a court heard.

Woodbury Salterton man Brad McGauley woke up Mr Rowe and his wife Sharon by trying to get into their East Devon mansion while wearing a sinister V for Vendetta mask and brandishing the unsheathed sword.

When ex-Royal Marine Mr Rowe, aged 71, tried to confront the defendant, he was threatened with a weapon in a country lane.

McGauley had gone to the house after an all-night drink and drugs party which left him barely able to remember what he had done.

He also started a series of fires in nearby Woodbury Salterton and broke into two cars while still wearing the mask and carrying the sword.

Police found the mask and an arsenal of weapons at his home including two Samurai swords and two machetes.

He was spared an immediate jail sentence after a judge at Exeter Crown Court heard how he was suffering from serious mental health issues at the time of the incident on January 1, 2019.

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McGauley, aged 25 of Sages Lane, admitted attempted burglary, two counts of arson, possession of a weapon, and two of vehicle interference.

He was jailed for two years, suspended for two years, ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work and 20 days of rehabilitation activities, and pay £500 compensation by Judge Timothy Rose.

He told him he was suspending the sentence because McGauley had no previous convictions and had sought help for his drug and mental health issues in the 17 months since the incidents.

The judge said: “These amounted to a spree of offending in the period of about three hours early on New Year’s Day when you acted completely outside any understanding of your normal character.”

Tara Wolfe, defending, said McGauley has taken action to address his abuse of drugs and seek help for mental health issues in the 17 months since the incident.

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