Man jailed for affray that ended in death

A BUSINESSMAN who killed a member of a gang he believed to be damaging a neighbour's car, was yesterday sent to jail for 18 months.

Norman Waller, 34, was cleared of murder and two wounding charges at Newcastle upon Tyne Crown Court last week, but was found guilty of causing an affray in the incident last February.

Sentencing Waller, of Low Fell, Gateshead, for affray, the judge, Mr Justice Roch, said that it was right he should go to jail because he knew his actions that night would have serious consequences.

Terry Malone, 24, also of Low Fell, died in hospital five days after being stabbed in the chest with a chisel by Waller as the gang surrounded him and his neighbour's son Peter Fay.

The jury, which last week cleared Mr Fay, a 22-year-old university student, of murder and wounding, took the view that the men acted in self-defence when the gang surrounded them.

Mr Justice Roch, said yesterday that he accepted this was self-defence and he was jailing Waller, director of a double glazing firm and a father-of-two, for the 'evil' of causing an affray which led to Mr Malone's tragic death.

The judge said that grabbing a 15-year-old boy in the gang and threatening to cut off his ears with the chisel was 'bound to lead to serious trouble', as was subsequently approaching the main group and waving the chisel.

'It was inevitable that behaviour would lead to further violence and that you and the man with you would get the worst of it. It was also inevitable, because you had introduced a chisel into the situation, that someone was going to get hurt.' The judge added: 'A jail sentence would also make it clear to others that the law will not permit individuals . . . to take the law into their own hands.'

Earlier, David Robson, for the defence, spoke of residents being 'under siege' from car thieves, vandals and burglars.

'It was against that background that a man of impeccable character, a man of peace, felt such a degree of frustration and threat, not only to himself, but to the respectable little community in which he lived, that he snapped and did something wholly uncharacteristic,' he said.

Waller had lost his home, the future of his eight employees was under threat, and he was in danger of reprisals from prisoners at Durham jail. Mr Robson also handed the judge a petition and letters from former neighbours in Low Fell urging him to show mercy.

During the two-week trial the jury heard how Waller had been plagued by crime. His car and his parents' car had been vandalised outside his home at least six times.

He was forced to move his business 20 miles from Low Fell to Fencehouses, Co Durham, after the premises were set on fire, steel shutters were smashed with an axe, and raiders dug a tunnel into the building during an attempted robbery. The court was told that only three of the 20 homes in the street where Waller lived had escaped the attentions of burglars or car vandals.

After his arrest, Waller said: 'I just snapped. I was at the end of my tether with damage to cars and factories. It's just like mob rule. Nothing and no one seems to be safe from them.'

(Photographs omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected