A furious farmer who went on a “red mist” rampage with a baseball bat during a row about the family business caused more than £33,000 of damage at the home of his elderly father, who has Parkinson’s disease.
Paul Squires smashed 22 panes of glass and damaged a number of vehicles at his dad’s bungalow in Wales. He also assaulted his brother and a police officer, Swansea Crown Court has heard.
But the court was also told the “spree of violence” was born from bereavement – and a sense of betrayal. It heard that Paul Squires believed that his brother and father had been trying to cut him out of the farm business, following the death of his mother earlier this year.
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Squires held his head in his hands throughout the hour-long hearing – and his barrister told the court his client was ashamed of his actions. Dean Pulling, prosecuting, said police were called to a farm in Trefenter near Aberystwyth n May 4 this year, with reports that threats had been made by Squires.
During a phone call to the family farm’s cattle feed supply firm in Northamptonshire, Squirtes said he was going to “slash everybody” and that there “will be two people who will be in the undertakers or hospital his evening”, the court heard.
Squires also threatened that he would go to the supply firm and “do the same to you”. The boss of the firm was so concerned that he rang Squires’ 86-year-old father and 52-year-old brother to report what had been said. Mr Squires senior subsequently alerted the police.
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Police visited the farm and were talking to the father and brother in the conservatory of their bungalow when Squires arrived in a black Range Rover and stormed in, brandishing a baseball bat, the court heard.
Squires then began swinging the baseball bat and smashing the windows, while shouting a series of threats and insults, the court was told.
It was heard that at one point Squires yelled “the day you die I’m going to dance in your ashes”. A police officer tried to calmSquires – but continued to smash the windows and replied: “I am calm – you haven’t see me when I’m in a ******* bad mood yet”
He then struck his brother on the arm with the bat and made a series of claims about how his father and brother had effectively killed his mother and wanted him out of the family business, the court was told.
Squires then left the conservatory and walked around the bungalow smashing windows and damaging vehicles parked in the yard, the court heard. At this point, the police officer moved the father and brother into the main part of the bungalow, told them to lock the door, and called for back up.
However, Squires had left the farm by the time police reinforcements arrived. He was arrested later that evening and a baseball bat was recovered from a shed at his property, a separate farmhouse on adjacent land.
During a police interview, Squires said he had gone to his father’s after a “red mist” descended. He told police about his grievances with father and brother – and how he believed they were conspiring behind his back to thrown him off the land.
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An impact statement, read to the court by the prosecutor, described how the defendant’s father’s feelings of grief and anxiety – and worsened the symptoms of his Parkinson’s symptoms – had all been exacerbated by the ordeal. The incident had, he said. effectively destroyed his relationship with his son.
The officer who confronted Squires in the conservatory suffered a cut to his arm caused by flying glass from the smashed windows. The defendant’s brother suffered a graze to her arm after being hit with the bat.
Squires – has a number of previous offences for motoring matters but none for violence – had previously pleaded guilty to sending a threatening communication, affray, common assault, assaulting a police officer, and criminal damage.
In mitigation, Ian Ibrahim told the court the incident was not the result of hatred or committed under the influence of drink or drugs, but was born from bereavement and what the defendant considered to be “a form of betrayal”.
Squires, the court heard, had turned the family’s finances since the death of his mother, by working 16 to 18 hours a day, seven days a week, on the family sheep and cattle farm.
Recorder Neil Owen-Casey said that while the background context of the incident was a “dispute over the family business”, these issues were not for the court to judge. However, he said it was clear that Squires was a hard-working man who had been trying to turn the business around.
But the Recorder also acknowledged that Squires had carried out a “vicious, nasty assault” during a “spree of violence,” reported Wales Online.
Squires was sentenced to a total of 22 months in prison, with one-third discounts for guilty pleas to sending a threatening communication, affray, common assault, and criminal damage, and a one-quarter discount for assaulting a police officer – a plea entered at a later date.
Squires is likely to serve up to half that sentence in custody before being released on licence to spend the remainder in the community.
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