Jail for groundsman who stabbed man outside Braunton pub

A North Devon groundsman who stabbed another man in the thigh in angry vengeance after a long running row over payment for a guitar has been jailed for 15 months. At Exeter Crown Court 40 year old Phillip Gomersall was convicted by a jury of unlawf

A North Devon groundsman who stabbed another man in the thigh in 'angry vengeance' after a long running row over payment for a guitar has been jailed for 15 months.

At Exeter Crown Court 40 year old Phillip Gomersall was convicted by a jury of unlawfully wounding Andrew Jenkins who was stabbed outside the George Hotel in Braunton.

Passing the prison sentence Judge John Neligan told Gomersall: "The aggravating feature of this case is the use of the knife and knife crime is becoming endemic in this country. It is up to the courts to send out a clear message that there can be no excuse for the use of a knife in public and immediate prison sentences will follow. This is to reflect the grave concern of the public and to try and eradicate the use of such knives."

During the trial the jury heard there was a simmering row between Gomersall and Mr Jenkins over a guitar the defendant had purchased from another man for �100. Because of financial difficulties he had been unable to pay off the full amount and Mr Jenkins, who got to hear of the matter took it on himself to sort things out.


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One night when both men were in the George Hotel drinking separately a heated exchange took place between them and the two men went outside. In Exeter Road Gomersall started to take off his ruck sack and Mr Jenkins who thought he was about to be attacked pushed him away and started walking back towards the pub.

He then felt a 'pin prick in his thigh' and turned to see Gomersall armed with a knife and a set of keys.

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Mr Jenkins went back into the George and Gomersall walked up to the police station. In the pub the full extent of Mr Jenkins' injury was established by the amount of blood coming from the wound and he was taken to North Devon District Hospital where the injury required six stitches.

Gomersall was interviewed by the police and told them he was training as a first aider and said he had stabbed Mr Jenkins in a spot where he knew there would be no lasting injury. He claimed that he had been attacked first by Mr Jenkins and had retaliated because he did not know what was going to happen next. He said that he was acting in self defence.

The Crown alleged it was angry vengeance and not self defence that had led to the defendant stabbing his victim.

Gomersall of Homer Road, Braunton had pleaded not guilty to unlawful wounding Mr Jenkins last August but was convicted by a jury. He had pleaded guilty to possessing the knife as an offensive weapon.

Mitigating Lee Bremridge said Gomersall realised that he had acted inappropriately but this was not a premeditated attack and an immediate prison sentence would mean that his wife and three children would lose their home.

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