Three men jailed for 'disgusting piece of violence' on Harrogate street
Three men have been jailed for a “disgusting piece of violence” in which they each brandished ferocious weapons during a stand-off in a residential street in Harrogate.
The terrifying scenes, in broad daylight, were witnessed by horrified onlookers as the men - one brandishing a “Medieval-style” ball-in-a-sock weapon and the two other thugs wielding a hammer and a half snooker cue - circled each other, shouting threats, as traffic passed by and one witness pleaded with them to stop.
One terrified woman filmed the scenes from her window and dialled 999, York Crown Court heard.
When police turned up, the three men immediately dropped their weapons, acted “as if nothing had happened” and even started patting or “clapping” each other on the back as if they were “best friends”, said prosecutor Matthew Collins.
He said the incident had been “arranged” by the three men - 36-year-old Stephen Maughan, Joel Rayiru, 35, and Trevor Gill, 39 - following a dispute ostensibly concerning one of Rayiru’s female relatives.
Mr Collins said that just before the flare-up, the female witness spotted Maughan and Rayiru “lingering” on a path, next to a hedge.
A black estate car then drove past the two men, who were heard to say: “That’s him.”
The car, driven by Gill, pulled up “abruptly” near the two men. Gill got out of the vehicle brandishing an orange-handled hammer.
“He held the hammer as though he was ready to use it, by holding it above his waist,” said Mr Collins.
Maughan, who pulled out a broken-off snooker or pool cue, and Rayirou, brandishing a sock weighted with a cue ball, positioned themselves on a grass verge as they squared up to Gill wielding the hammer.
“According to witnesses, Rayiru was saying something (to Gill) about (one of his female relatives),” added Mr Collins.
Each of the men was arrested and charged with affray. Gill was also charged with threatening a person with an offensive weapon.
Maughan, of Robert Street, Harrogate, and Rayiru, of East Parade, admitted affray.
Gill, of St John’s Drive, Harrogate, admitted affray and making threats with the weapon following the incident just before 8pm on August 1 last year.
They each appeared for sentence on Thursday knowing that with their shocking records for violence, jail was all but inevitable.
Mr Collins said the stand-off “appeared to be an arranged meeting” which he described as “sustained brandishing (of weapons), shouting, threatening, moving around (each other)”.
“This was a residential area and (the incident) happened right outside a member of the public’s house,” he added.
Maughan had a long rap sheet for offences including serious violence, affray, public disorder and criminal damage. He had asked to be remanded in custody after the incident in Harrogate.
Rayiru, who was drunk at the time, had a plethora of previous convictions for violence including causing grievous and actual bodily harm, attacking police officers, battery and possessing offensive weapons. He was “no stranger” to prison.
Gill had a track record for affray, ABH, GBH and public disorder.
Stephen Welford, for Gill, said his client was a married, working man and character references from his employer attested to him being a “vital” member of staff.
Allan Armbrister, for Maughan, conceded that his client had an “appalling” record.
Nicholas Hammond, for Rayiru, said his client suffered from a serious illness which had not curbed his violence.
Judge Sean Morris, the Recorder of York, branded the incident a “disgraceful piece of violence” and slammed the defendants for brandishing weapons “in the streets of North Yorkshire, with traffic going past whilst three thugs with weapons were in a stand-off”.
“This was clearly an arranged meet and who knows what the motive was because nobody is telling the court,” added Mr Morris.
“All three of you have got appalling records for violence and you, because you are heavy-duty people, think that you own the streets.”
Gill was jailed for seven months. Maughan and Rayiru were jailed for eight months each.