Man cleared on all charges over machete "revenge attack" in Brighouse street

Bradford Crown Court
Bradford Crown Court

A former soldier accused of "hacking" at a man with a machete during violence in a Brighouse street has been found not guilty of all charges by a jury this afternoon (Tuesday).

But Aron Barton, 28, ended up being fined £500 by a judge after he failed to turn up at court part way through his trial last week.

Barton breached his bail by going on-the-run last Friday - the day after he had given his evidence to the jury and been cross-examined.

A warrant was issued by Judge David Hatton QC while the trial continued in Barton's absence and today he appeared in the dock from custody after being arrested from an address in Bradford.

Barton was alleged by the prosecution to have gone "tooled up" for a revenge attack after his newly-purchased Volkswagen car was damaged last August amid claims that he had beaten up his on-off girlfriend Shonagh Waddington.

But Barton insisted during his evidence last week that he had not assaulted Miss Waddington that morning and he told the jury at Bradford Crown Court that he would never cause harm to a woman.

Barton suggested that bruises to her legs and body could have been caused by her falling down while on a night out.

The court heard that the pair argued after Barton received a phone call from a woman, but he had driven Miss Waddington back to Brighouse where he claimed she made a false allegation to her relatives that he had beaten her up.

Barton claimed he was then punched by her stepdad James Casey and a baseball bat was used by another man to damage the bonnet and windscreen of his car.

The jury heard that Barton had only had the car a week and still owed a friend about £600 for it so later that afternoon they decided to go back to Brighouse to try and sort out payment for the damage.

"It's alleged that you were tooled up and went mob-handed. Did you take any weapons with you at all?" asked his barrister David Hall.

"None," replied Barton.

"Did you own a crossbow?" asked Mr Hall.

"I've never had a crossbow in my life. I wouldn't know how to fire one," said Barton.

Barton denied suggestions that he had made threats to go down there with "30 or 40 mates" and said he only wanted to sort his car out and move on.

The prosecution had alleged that Barton fired a crossbow bolt out of his friend's car towards Miss Waddington's brother before attacking him with a machete during the Sunday afternoon incident in St John Street.

Mr Waddington, who has previous convictions for threatening behaviour, affray and common assault, suffered a serious wound to his right hand and had been "cut to the bone" on his lower leg during the disturbance.

But during his evidence to the jury Barton denied using any weapons and claimed that he saw Mr Waddington with a silvery blade attacking his friend in the car.

Barton said he had picked up the crossbow, which had been on a nearby wall, but had then put it down again.

He described how he grappled with Mr Waddington to try and stop him stabbing anybody, but he then heard the sound of someone firing a nail gun and he ran off.

The court heard that Barton, who had no previous convictions, surrendered himself to the police the next day.

Barton, formerly of Angus Avenue, Wyke, denied wounding Louis Waddington with intent to do him grievous bodily harm and an alternative charge of unlawful wounding.

He has also pleaded not guilty to threatening James Casey and Mr Waddington with the crossbow and a charge of common assault in relation to Miss Waddington.

After almost eight hours of deliberation the jury returned not guilty verdicts on all five charges, but Judge David Hatton QC kept Barton in custody while he decided what to do about the breach of bail.

Mr Hall said the breach of bail had been the action of an immature man who was frightened and fortunately it had not disrupted the trial process.

The judge said Barton would have gone to prison if the trial had been derailed in any way, but instead he ordered him to pay the £500 fine within the next three months.