Carshalton garage boss broke mechanic's arm with spirit level in Thornton Heath parking row
A CARSHALTON garage boss who broke a neighbouring mechanic's arm with a heavy-duty spirit level during a "parking rage" row was jailed for 16 months on Wednesday.
Mark Evans Blackburn, 46, of Bakers Gardens, Carshalton, swung the four-foot-long wooden weapon at Matthew Ward's head during a furious row over blocked access.
"You walked away from the argument, entered your workspace, and armed yourself with an industrial-sized heavy-duty spirit-level and attempted to hit Mr Ward over the head," Judge Peter Gow QC told Blackburn at Croydon Crown Court as he put him behind bars.
"He raised his left arm in an attempt to protect himself and suffered a fracture when struck, by you, with that weapon."
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Father-of-two Blackburn was convicted by a jury of inflicting grievous bodily harm in Bensham Lane, Thornton Heath, on January 5 last year.
The court heard that trouble had begun when Mr Ward, who had just pulled up in his car, complained a small transit van Blackburn had just parked was blocking the entrance to his garage.
Swearing, the defendant shouted: "I'm not going to move the van."
The pair had a face-to-face confrontation, shouting abuse at each other and Mr Ward's friend got out of a car with a dog.
"I was looking at the floor for something to arm myself with because I thought the dog was going to attack me," Blackburn told the jury.
Mr Ward said the defendant warned: "Wait there. I've got something to show you."
Seconds later he returned with the spirit level and, swinging it like a baseball bat, struck Mr Ward, breaking his left arm, and causing him to fall to the floor. Blackburn claimed the blow was in self-defence as he feared Mr Ward was going to grab a weapon from the back of his own vehicle.
Prosecutor Mr Nicholas Bleaney said: "This injury ruined Mr Ward's professional life. As a direct result of his injuries, he has had to give up his business."
Robert Rye, defending, said: "This is a hard-working family man and the working relationship he had with Mr Ward has been lost due to this aberration.
"The impact on Mr Blackburn is going to be very hard and dramatic indeed. If he receives a substantial prison sentence he will inevitably lose his business."
Blackburn suffered a minor stroke on Christmas Eve while on remand.
"That must have been brought about by the stress of being in custody," said Mr Rye. "This was a moment of madness."
Judge Gow told Blackburn: "It is clear you are a hard-working, family man, kind and peaceful in the normal course of events and what you did was out of character."