Men who armed themselves after attack are spared jail
WHEN a work s Christmas party ended with the boss and a younger member of staff being assaulted at a taxi rank, they went off and tooled themselves up, a court heard. But police were alerted when a taxi driver reported seeing a man with an axe in Hermit
WHEN a work's Christmas party ended with the boss and a younger member of staff being assaulted at a taxi rank, they went off and "tooled" themselves up, a court heard.
But police were alerted when a taxi driver reported seeing a man with an axe in Hermitage Road, Hitchin.
The two men, Barry Alderson, 40, and Thomas Tuttle, 22, were found to have an axe, hammer and large screwdriver with them. They were to say later that they had feared meeting their attackers again, when they had had to return to town to collect some keys.
They each pleaded guilty at Luton Crown Court to possessing an offensive weapon and were given suspended prison sentences with various conditions.
Recorder Christopher Vadja QC told them yesterday (Wednesday): "There are a number of disturbing features about this case. The public need to be protected from people carrying weapons when drunk in our towns and cities at night.
"This could have led to a very frightening event."
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But he said he had taken into account that the weapons had not been brandished and both men made full admissions.
Michael Speak, prosecuting, said the events happened on December 20 last year.
A 14in-long axe and hammer were found in a taxi when the men were detained and Tuttle was found to have a screwdriver in his pocket.
In interviews both men said they had been assaulted by a gang of 10 at a taxi rank, and police confirmed that they bore the scars from the attack.
They went back to Alderson's home in Riddy Hill Close, Hitchin but had no keys to get in and needed to return to town.
Alderson told police they then decided to "tool themselves up" in case the gang were still around.
Steven Garratt, defending him, said: "The axe was in his pocket and he never removed it, although it was obviously visible.
"He runs a small haulage company and if he went to prison his staff would suffer."
David Noble, defending Tuttle, said; "He has never fallen foul of police in any shape or form before. This was out of character and there is a very low risk that he will re offend.
"If his boss goes to prison he will be out of a job."
Alderson was given an eight-month prison sentence suspended for two years with supervision. He was also fined �750 with �150 costs.
Tuttle, of Wiltshire Road, Stevenage was given a six-month sentence also suspended for two years but will be under a curfew for four nights a week for six months. He was ordered to pay �150 costs.