‘Sons of Hell’ Biker hacked at rival with meat cleaver in row over club rules
A man who hacked a fellow bike club member with a meat cleaver after the pair fell out over the rules of the club has been jailed.
David Laponder, 35, from Stockport, attacked Daniel Gibbons in the street on Old Liverpool Road, Warrington, on March 21 2020.
Liverpool Crown Court heard an eyewitness window cleaner saw the attack from his ladder and said he heard Mr Gibbons ask Laponder to “drop the knife.”
The pair, both members of the Tameside chapter of the Sons of Hell Biker Club, continued to argue before Laponder swung the blade at Mr Gibbons, who tried to grab it, lost his balance on the kerb “and fell backwards.”
Laponder then “stood over the victim and repeatedly struck him with the meat cleaver,” reports the Liverpool Echo.
A witness statement was read to the court, where a passenger in a passing vehicle said they saw Gibbons bleeding from the head as Laponder shouted: “I’m going to kill him.”
Brave bystanders intervened and got out of the car to rush to Mr Gibbons aid, with one witness claiming looked “angry but not out of control” adding that “he had the look of a villain out of a horror film.”
Another biker stepped in and coaxed Laponder away, and Laponder threw on his leathers and rode off from the scene on a Harley Davidson.
In an act of “public courage,” a woman trailed him in her car to take down his registration and pass it to police.
An acquaintance of Mr Gibbons drove him away from the scene in a Ford Focus and took him to hospital, where he was diagnosed with a skull fracture and a small bleed to the brain.
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Mr Gibbons was discharged two days later, and has since “consistently refused to make a statement to the police and has declined to make a victim personal statement.”
Laponder was arrested a few days after the incident, and clothes in his washing machine had traces of his victim’s DNA on them.
On September 7, Laponder pleaded guilty to to Section 18 wounding, possessing an offensive weapon and assaulting an emergency worker.
Laponder told Judge Brian Cummings, QC, that he acted in self-defence and said Mr Gibbons had grabbed him by the face in the kitchen of the house in a row over biker rules.
He said Mr Gibbons reached for his pocket, which he thought would be for a weapon such as a knuckle-duster or flick knife so he reached for the nearest thing from a nearby knife block in the house.
According to the defendant, Mr Gibbons then allegedly threatened to shoot Laponder and went to the footwell of the Ford Focus, prompting Lamponder to believe he was going to follow through on the threat.
The defendant said most of the blows missed Mr Gibbons and that he stopped when he saw blood and realised the cleaver had hit him.
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Mr Stables, defending, said his client had pleaded guilty to the main charge of Section 18 wounding at the earliest opportunity, and had acted in self-defence.
He said a psychiatrist had diagnosed the defendant with a mental health condition that could alter the threshold for Laponder’s threat perception and said his client had been in a strong relationship for two years, who provided a character reference.
Mr Stables also noted the cleaver used was not a butcher’s cleaver used for carving livestock, but was six inches long and weighed less than a coffee mug.
Sentencing, Judge Brian Cummings, QC, said he would give credit to Laponder for his guilty please, despite the bike club “unspoken rule” of not speaking to police.
He also noted Laponder's schizotypal disorder, as well as the fact the cleaver was picked up at the address of the attack and not taken with Laponder to carry it out.
Laponder was handed an extended prison sentence, and will serve a total of 11 years and three months, of which he will serve nine years and three months in custody.
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