A man who, after the two fell out over the club’s rules, hacked a fellow bike club member with a meat cleaver has been jailed.
On March 21, 2020, David Laponder, 35, of Stockport, assaulted Daniel Gibbons on the streets of Old Liverpool Road, Warrington.
“An eyewitness window cleaner from Liverpool Crown Court heard the attack from his ladder and said he heard Mr. Gibbons ask Laponder to” drop the knife.
“The pair, both members of the Sons of Hell Biker Club Tameside chapter, proceeded to argue until Laponder swung the blade at Mr. Gibbons, who tried to catch it, lost his kerb balance,” and fell backward.
The Liverpool Echo states that Laponder then “rose over the victim and repeatedly struck him with the meat cleaver.”
“The court read a witness statement, where a passenger in a passing car said they saw Gibbons bleeding from his head as Laponder screamed,” I’m going to kill him.
Brave bystanders interfered and jumped out of the car to help Mr. Gibbons, with one witness saying he looked “angry but not out of control,” adding that “he looked like a villain from a horror movie.”
Another biker jumped in and coaxed Laponder away, and Laponder put his leathers on a Harley Davidson and rode off from the scene.
A woman followed him in her car in an act of “public bravery,” to take his registration and pass it to the police.
Mr. Gibbons’ acquaintance took him away from the Ford Focus scene and took him to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a skull fracture and a minor bleed to his brain.
Two days later, Mr. Gibbons was discharged and has since’ repeatedly refused to make a statement to the police and declined to make a personal statement to the victim.’
A few days after the incident, Laponder was arrested, and the clothes in his washing machine had traces of his victim’s DNA on them.
Laponder pleaded guilty to Section 18 harm, possession of an offensive weapon and battery on an emergency worker on September 7.
Judge Brian Cummings, QC, told Laponder that he acted in self-defense and that Mr. Gibbons had grabbed him by the face in the house’s kitchen in a row over biker law.
Mr. Gibbons, he said, reached for his pocket, which he figured would be for a weapon like a knuckle-duster or flick knife, so he reached for the closest thing in the house from a nearby knife block.
Mr Stables, defending, said his client had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity to the key charge of Section 18 injury, and had acted in self-defense.
He said a psychiatrist had diagnosed the defendant with a mental health disorder that could shift the threshold for the interpretation of Laponder ‘s danger and that his client, who offered a character reference, had been in a close relationship for two years.
The cleaver used was not a butcher’s cleaver used to carve cattle, but was six inches long and weighed less than a coffee mug, Mr. Stables also noted.
Sentencing, Judge Brian Cummings, QC, said that despite the bike club “unspoken law” of not speaking to police, he would give credit to Laponder for his guilty pleas.
He also noted the schizotypic condition of Laponder, as well as the fact that the cleaver was retrieved at the address of the attack and not taken to carry it out with Laponder.