Sunderland dad carrying pickaxe in neighbour dispute was just like one of 'Seven Dwarfs' court told

A Sunderland dad who brandished a pickaxe in a street was just behaving like one of Disney’s ‘Seven Dwarfs’, a court heard.

Sunday, 8th December 2019, 8:00 am
South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.
South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

Steven Henzell, 34, walked into the middle of Palgrove Road, Pennywell, with the tool over his shoulder and confronted a neighbour.

But defence solicitor Tom Iceton insisted there was no malicious intent, telling magistrates in South Tyneside: “It’s as if he’s one of the Seven Dwarfs, going off to work.”

And he said even when Henzell returned to his garage and reappeared with a what appeared to be a knife, it was held low and he did not stray from his property.

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South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard long distance lorry driver Henzell had now moved to West Yorkshire to get away from the dispute.

Prosecutor Paul Anderson said: “There’s clearly been a considerable history between the two parties that starts as a neighbouring dispute and gets out of hand.

“There were words exchanged and we end up in a slanging match but they are in their front gardens.

“What happens then is that Mr Henzell goes into his garage and literally comes striding out with a pickaxe, with the tool over his shoulder as if he’s going to work with it and stands in the middle of the road.”

Mr Anderson said the neighbour, a woman, picked up a piece of wood to either confront Henzell or defend herself.

He added: “Mr Henzell walks back into his garden. He then has a knife but does not take it into the street.”

Mr Iceton said problems had not been one sided and his client’s family had made numerous complaints of their own to police.

He added: “On this occasion, no-one seems to know what has been said. It’s not the kind of scene where everybody is gesticulating violently.

“Something has been said between the parties. My client goes to the garage and picks up a pickaxe handle and puts it over his shoulder.

“It’s not a scene where he is deliberately holding it to threaten someone.

“He goes back to his garden and picks up what looks like it could be a knife, but he’s holding it down by his side and is in his own property.

“My client says that he’s so fed up he’s put his house up for sale and has lost money on it so that he can move away.”

Magistrates gave Henzell, a married dad-of-two who now lives in Wakefield, an 18-month community order which includes 35 rehabilitation days with the Probation Service.

Henzell, who admitted a charge of using threatening words on Wednesday, July 10, was fined £507 and must pay £85 court costs and a £90 victim surcharge.