Ex-soldier had meat cleaver hidden under car seat

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A FORMER soldier was found with a meat cleaver in his car after a road crash.

John Pearson, 26, called police after crashing on the southbound carriageway of the A19 in West Boldon.

But when an officer arrived, he found the meat cleaver under the driver’s seat of Pearson’s Audi A3.

Magistrates in South Tyneside were told Pearson had been returning to his home in The Crescent, West Rainton, from Boldon Cinema with his girlfriend at about 9pm on Wednesday, October 10.

His girlfriend had to be taken to hospital by ambulance for treatment.

Pearson, who has served in Afghanistan, pleaded not guilty to a charge of possessing a blade, saying he was due to use the meat cleaver as part of a training exercise the following day.

He admitted having possession of the meat cleaver but made a special reasons defence it was for use in his career in the military – to cut ropes and chop logs during operations in the field.

Pearson told the court he used it in basic re-enactment scenarios and had put it in a sheath under the driving seat but it had been knocked out of the casing by the force of the crash. He was found guilty following a trial.

John Grierson, defending, said the blade had not been in open view.

Pearson was an infantry member of the Scots Guards, serving as a soldier from 2003 until December of last year.

He had pleaded guilty to charges of making a false statement to obtain insurance, using a motor vehicle without insurance and driving otherwise than in accordance with the licence.

Pearson said he had not received a summons to appear in court as he had been based in Germany with the Army and was unaware he had been convicted in his absence. He will be sentenced tomorrow