AXE ATTACK MAN JAILED

A father-of-four who struck a man in the face with an axe before phoning him and threatening to chop him up has been jailed.

The attack followed an argument between Anthony Michael Graver and Anthony Brightwell at Graver's caravan at Windy Bank, Hightown.

Graver swung the axe into Mr Brightwell's face as the confrontation boiled over into violence.

Brightwell, 33, then fled the caravan with blood streaming from a three-inch gash beneath his eye.

Leeds Crown Court heard on Monday that Graver, 44, chased him with the axe for a short while after the attack before making a series of threatening calls.

In one, made just minutes after the attack as Mr Brightwell waited at his father's house for an ambulance, he told him not to "bubble" him to the police, and during another said: "I'm going to chop you up and send little bits of you to everyone in Windy Bank who doesn't like you."

Peter Moulson, prosecuting, said Mr Brightwell suffered a fractured cheekbone and spent two days in hospital after the attack – where he received two more calls from Graver, but did not answer.

He said Mr Brightwell had gone to the caravan, at Thornbush Farm in Miry Lane, with a friend, Paul Ferguson, and that an argument had broken out over the sale of a second-hand car.

"The defendant picked up an axe with a sharp cutting edge and struck Mr Brightwell with it," he said. "Such was the force of the blow it left a mark in the caravan ceiling where the axe hit before being brought down on his face.

"Graver later laughed when he told others at the caravan what he had done, saying he should have done more."

Mr Moulson said Mr Brightwell had entered into the witness protection scheme for a time because of the phone calls.

Builder Graver, 44, who lived in the static caravan, pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding and witness intimidation.

Kate Blackwell, mitigating, said Graver had shown genuine remorse after the attack and that no permanent visual damage had been done to Mr Brightwell.

She said Graver had faced overwhelming aggression during the 7pm argument on February 23 and added that he had served the equivalent of a 12-month sentence since his arrest in Wetherby in March.

Graver accepted "he had gone over the top" in his reaction, she said, and now regretted his actions.

She added: "Graver is a man who has lived with fear and suspicion all his life – he had the axe for his own protection."

Judge Ian Dobkin said Graver could have killed Mr Brightwell with the force of the blow.

He said: "The use of the axe could have had catastrophic consequences. You could have killed him quite easily."

The judge accepted the victim was "no angel" but said no-one deserved to suffer an injury of that kind and that the crime was made worse by the intimidation.

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