Hero who saved farmer's life guilty of assaulting neighbour in 'mad' dispute
A one-time hero, who saved the life of a farmer, has been given a suspended jail sentence after climbing over the garden fence and beating his neighbour. A court heard that James Corps had put out step ladders to get at victim Glen O'Connell after telling him: "I have had enough of you lot. I am going to kill you."
A court heard that James Corps had put out step ladders to get at victim Glen O'Connell after telling him: "I have had enough of you lot. I am going to kill you."
Mr O'Connell was left with a smashed wrist, three broken ribs, lumps to his head and two black eyes after the incident in Great Harwood.
Corps, a father-of-three who lives on Kingsway, was given 36 weeks in jail, suspended for a year, with six months supervision after admitting inflicting grievous bodily harm.
Sentencing Corps, who received an award from his former employers for helping save the life of a farmer who collapsed from a heart attack in a field, Judge Beverley Lunt said: "This is a neighbourhood dispute that has just gone mad."
The judge said she had read references showing Corps was a good man in the community, worked with children and was a good friend to others - and not surprisingly those who sent them could not understand what he was doing in court.
David Macro, prosecuting, said the defendant and the victim, a joiner, had been neighbours for four years, but had not got on for about two years.
On June 4, Corps's family had had visitors and the children appeared to have been noisy.
The victim had gone out at about 9.45pm and made some noise putting rubbish in the bin.
The pair exchanged comments over the fence and the court heard that Corps said: "I have had enough of you lot. I am going to kill you."
Corps then put stepladders up to the fence, climbed over, with his "body puffed up" and was shouting: "I hate you all. I hate your missus."
He went straight for the victim and hit him several times in the face, knocking off his glasses.
Mr O'Connell, who had tried to fight back, could not see very well, stumbled and believed that was when he fractured his wrist.
Mr Macro said he got up, the defendant continued to attack him and Mr O'Connell slumped over his car. He was completely defenceless because of his injured arm and simply tried to get away.
Corps lost his balance and the victim was able to get back up. The defendant carried on the assault and Mr 0'Connell curled into the foetal position to protect himself.
His wife was shouting and screaming at the defendant and she rang the police.
The defendant was arrested and questioned and claimed Mr O'Connell struck him first. He had no previous convictions.
Simeon Evans, for Corps, said he must have got into a rage. He apologised and did not mean for the incident to go that far.
The barrister told the hearing: "This was an aberration, albeit one with very unfortunate and serious consequences for Mr 0'Connell."
He added the defendant would say it was Mr 0'Connell who struck the first blow."
Mr Evans continued: "This is a case where the court can just, and only just, draw back from a sentence of immediate custody today."