Machete man who terrorised Burnley town centre could be jailed

Burnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court
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A machete man who brought midday terror to Burnley Market as people worked and shopped could be facing jail.

Angry ex-con Lee Barnett waved the 10 to 12in. blade around when he went to confront and scare a man he owed money to after, he claimed, threats were made against his parents and his family home.

He later handed himself into the police and owned up.

Miss Parveen Akhtar, prosecuting, told the town's magistrates that Barnett owed about £110 to a man who worked on the market.

The 35-year-old defendant turned up there, with his father and pulled the machete out from his pocket.

She continued: "The victim ran behind a desk. The defendant's father managed to drag him away. The incident was caught on CCTV."

Mr Dylan Bradshaw, defending Barnett, said the requests for payment of the debt were becoming increasingly threatening and encompassed his elderly father and his mother, who was gravely ill.

The solicitor continued: "The defendant thought, 'Enough is enough. I will go to the market to speak to these people and scare them and show them I'm not somebody to be messed with'."

Mr Bradshaw said: "The people in the market, either working or shopping, would not have known that he was not going to use it. As far as they were concerned, he may have been some random maniac who had produced a machete."

The lawyer said Barnett, who has served time in prison, had not been in trouble for four years.

Mr Bradshaw went on: "It was a serious incident. It was brief and nobody was injured, albeit it was a very frightening incident. There may have been children present, women."

Probation officer Mr Rory Martin, who interviewed Barnett, said threats had been made towards the defendant and to damage his home, where he lived with his parents.

He was afraid and angry and decided to confront the victim to "warn him off".

The officer continued: "He had planned to do this. His father had gone with him, not knowing what was going to happen."

Mr Martin added: "He does recognise the fear and alarm he caused the victim and other members of the public. He did regret his actions and showed some remorse."

The defendant, of Kinross Street, Burnley, admitted affray and possessing a blade on the market on October 26th.

He was committed to the town's crown court to be sentenced on January 7th.