Weapons collector stabbed Scarborough man in stomach with ornamental sword, damaging his liver, court told

A weapons collector has been spared prison after stabbing a man in the stomach with an ornamental sword, causing internal bleeding and damaging his liver.

Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 10:41 am
Updated Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 10:45 am

Darren Pickering, 38, lunged at the man with the replica weapon after the victim came to his house in Scarborough allegedly making threats, York Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Adam Walker said the named victim suffered an “enormous” stomach wound, a haematoma and a bleed on his liver after Pickering had brandished the blade like a swordfighter.

He had to undergo operations including a laparotomy - a surgical incision through the abdomen wall.

York Crown Court
York Crown Court

The court heard it was “only luck” that the victim did not die.

Pickering, of Trafalgar Road, was giving the victim first-aid when police arrived at the scene.

He told them that “he had done it”, said prosecutor Adam Walker.

He was arrested and charged initially with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

He denied the allegation and was found not guilty by a jury.

However, Pickering admitted the lesser charge of unlawful wounding on Friday when he appeared for sentence.

The incident occurred on February 14 last year when the victim went to Pickering’s home to confront him.

The victim, who was initially the aggressor, said he thought he was going to die and that although he had now made a full recovery, albeit with complications, he still suffered from physical and psychological “knock-on” effects including post-traumatic stress disorder and had lost earnings after having to take a “significant” amount of time off work.

“It makes him bad-tempered with his family,” said Mr Walker.

“(He’s) mentally struggling.”

Mr Walker said the victim had to undergo at least one serious operation and was left with a “very prominent, horrible” scar.

The court heard that the victim “went to the defendant’s door” and Pickering, who was “uncomfortable with confrontation”, took out the ornamental sword to try to get him away from his

home.

Pickering was said to have had another replica sword inside the house but had since got rid of it.

Kevin Blount, for Pickering, said his client, a married man who works as a delivery driver, had felt “guilt and remorse ever since (the incident)”.

He said the victim had already received compensation through the Criminal Injuries Board.

Recorder Richard Woolfall said he found it “astonishing that weapons like this can be purchased so freely and readily because (of) the potential for injury, as this case demonstrates”.

He added: “It’s hard to imagine why (the sword) needed to be so sharp.

"One wonders why a replica like that needs to be made so realistically. It was very dangerous.”

He said that Pickering, who was “frightened (and) angry when he was confronted at his front door”, had acted “recklessly” but there was no deliberate aim to cause serious harm.

Mr Woolfall said that pointing the sword at the victim was a “spectacularly stupid and dangerous thing to do” but it was “solely intended to scare (the victim) to try to get him to leave the property and to get some space between you”.

He accepted that Pickering did “not deal well with (stressful situations)” and was “naturally an anxious person”.

He told Pickering: “The scene you were faced with…exacerbated your anxieties…and caused you to act in an impulsive way which culminated on this occasion in serious consequences.

"It’s only luck that (the victim) didn’t die.”

Mr Woolfall said he had noted that as soon as Pickering realised the “enormity of what (he) did”, he threw down his sword and went looking for the victim to “ensure he was okay”.

“You had first-aid experience and you advised him to sit down to reduce his blood flow and you helped him compress the wound,” he added.

“This wound has had a significant impact on (the victim). He had to undergo exploratory surgery.

"(There was) an injury to his liver that mercifully stopped bleeding (and) an enormous wound to his stomach.”

He said the offence was so serious that it could only be met with a jail sentence, but that he could suspend this because it was unlikely that Pickering would be before the courts again and had shown remorse.

The 12-month prison sentence was suspended for two years.

Pickering was also ordered to carry out 150 hours’ unpaid work and complete a 35-day rehabilitation programme.

Mr Woolfall also made an order for the forfeiture and destruction of the ornamental sword.