‘Possessed’ Brierfield man threatened to kill

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A FORMER Brierfield man who went round to his girlfriend’s ex-husband’s works and threatened him with a hammer and a knife is behind bars.

Burnley Crown Court heard how “possessed” Lee Kershaw brought terror to the workforce after turning up at an industrial unit in Colne. He threatened to kill painter Darren Stephen and then stab him as the victim’s colleagues tried to stop the frightening melee.

Kershaw finally left, still armed with the knife and was later arrested at his then home in Brierfield.

The defendant (35), now of Earnshaw Road, Bacup, admitted affray, possessing an offensive weapon, possessing a blade and common assault. He was locked up for 27 months.

Miss Sarah Statham (prosecuting) said the victim had been talking to his former wife Natalie on the phone and heard Kershaw shouting: “I’m going to kill you. I’m going to stab you with a knife.” Not long after, his ex and Kershaw turned up at his workplace and Mrs Stephen told her former husband the defendant was fuming and wanted to see him outside.

Mr Stephen didn’t want to be embarrassed in front of his workmates, went outside and was confronted by Kershaw, brandishing a hammer and running towards him, looking possessed.

Miss Statham said the victim ran away and his colleagues tried to stop the defendant getting at him. Kershaw eventually threw the hammer to the ground. He was then reported to have picked up a metal object and waved that around as Mr Stephen’s colleagues told him to put it down. He did, scuffled with the victim leaving him scratched and grazed, went away and then appeared armed with a knife.

One of Mr Stephen’s colleagues, who was a larger built man, stepped between the defendant and victim, as Kershaw waved the knife around and threatened to kill Mr Stephen. The victim’s colleagues told him to put the knife away and eventually, after a short chase, the defendant left.

Miss Statham said one witness described how he was in shock after the “frightening” incident, would say he had never seen anything as violent in his life and was surprised nobody was injured.

Kershaw was arrested and interviewed, denied at that stage taking a knife to the premises and said he didn’t use a hammer.

Mr Martin Hackett, for Kershaw, said he did not have any relevant previous convictions. He had been diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis and depression.

The barrister continued: “He was drinking heavily at the time. He lost his temper in a very extreme manner and he acted in a very extreme manner. The defendant is very scared of the prospect of losing his liberty for the first time at 35.”

Sentencing, Judge Beverley Lunt told Kershaw the incident had been “dreadful” and he had brandished the knife not only at Mr Stephen, but at his colleagues.

She said the defendant had to go to immediate custody and added: “You endangered all these people. You caused them great fear.”