A father in court for taking a machete with him to an argument told police he had been using it to cut down stinging nettles.

Marcus Bray was before Truro Crown Court for sentencing over an incident that took place in August 2022 – a delay that was criticised by both his defence barrister and the judge.

The court heard that the 37-year-old was at Paynters Lane in Illogan, near Redruth, at the time of the incident.

The prosecution told the court there had been a dispute between one of Bray’s children and a neighbour, who was said to have shouted at the child.

The other resident then returned with a hammer held by his side and an argument broke out, although the prosecutor said it was not claimed there had been any threats made, but there was further shouting.

A video of the incident played to the court showed Bray with the machete in his hand, which at one point he slammed to the floor.

Bray was later arrested by police, although the machete was not found.

The following day he read a prepared statement in interview, in which he said: “Earlier in the day neighbours had threatened my son for picking blackberries.

“I was in the garden cutting nettles with a machete. The neighbours came back. One of them was carrying a hammer and shouting threats to me and my family.

“I exited the garden still holding the machete, just to scare them. My eldest son and carer told me to come back inside the house so I did.

“I was trying to protect myself and my family. I would never have used it.”

He later pleaded guilty to possession of a blade or sharply pointed article.


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Barrister Ryan Murray spoke on behalf of Bray, whose address was given at magistrates’ court as now being of Market Street, Copperhouse, Hayle.

He said it was a “damning indictment” that the case had taken 12 months to reach prosecution and sentencing, despite a video clearly showing Bray holding the machete being given to police almost immediately after the incident.

Mr Murray described Bray’s mental health at the time as “abysmal.”

“It was through the floor,” he said. “He had stopped receiving mental health support in January 2022. It was, in effect, withdrawn from him and his wife was left to pick up the pieces.

“She loves him very much, but has no medical training. He was effectively left to fend for himself for eight months “He was sleeping for all of two to three hours a night and his behaviour reflects that.”

Mr Murray said Bray now had professional help available to him and he “contributed greatly” to family life, helping look after his four children. A prison sentence would be felt acutely.

Judge Simon Carr told Bray that he had taken a machete into a housing estate where there were women and children present, “in a manner that would have been terrifying for those who saw it.”

However, he said Bray suffered from a “constellation of mental health problems” and it was to his credit that he had reached the age of 37 with no previous convictions.

The judge noted that it had taken a year to bring these proceedings to court, adding that Bray had responsibilities at home for four children.

As such he issued Bray with a suspended sentence, to six months in prison, suspended for 18 months.