A MAN who smashed up a car with an axe and struck the driver in the face with the handle over a minor parking dispute at Islington told police he “just snapped” when the driver didn’t move his car immediately.
Scott Alex Clough, 44, of Werris Creek, represented himself in Newcastle Local Court on Thursday where he pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, armed with intent to commit an indictable offence, destroy or damage property and intimidation.
It was a misunderstanding, a minor disagreement between two strangers that could have been easily settled without resorting to violence.
Instead, Clough launched a “completely unprovoked attack” that left the victim, Justin Hall, scared for his life, according to a statement of police facts tendered in court on Thursday.
Clough was in a white utility, affixed with CLOUGHY number plates, outside the Gateway Hotel in George Street about 4.45pm on August 17 when Mr Hall came outside and got into his Toyota Camry, which was parked in front of Clough’s ute.
Mr Hall unlocked his car, which he told police always triggers a beep, with that sound prompting Clough to beep back and yell at Mr Hall.
But Mr Hall wasn’t intending to leave right away and was waiting to charge his phone, police facts state.
Clough attempted to drive off but thought he was boxed in.
He then threw a half eaten devon roll at Mr Hall’s car and got out of his vehicle, telling Mr Hall: “Can you drive off so I can get my car out. “You are going to make me miss these lights”.
Mr Hall told him he would be “gone in a second”.
But then Clough got into his car, drove up alongside Mr Hall’s Camry, got out and retrieved an axe from the tray of his ute.
He used the axe to smash Mr Hall’s driver’s side window, looked inside and abused Mr Hall, before swinging the axe at the front windscreen, the blade penetrating the glass.
Clough then leaned inside the vehicle and hit Mr Hall in the nose with the end of the handle, terrifying Mr Hall who screamed out for help because he thought Clough was going to kill him.
Clough then stood up and swung the axe at the roof the Camry, causing a large gash before he got in his car and drove off.
Mr Hall was taken to hospital and police arrested Clough in his car at about 9.20pm that night.
He admitted to damaging the car and assaulting Mr Hall and said he “just snapped” during the minor dispute, telling police he was embarrassed and remorseful.
Clough will be sentenced in Tamworth Local Court on October 30.