A BIKER gang member has been sentenced to 11 years and three months after striking a man over the head with a meat cleaver eight times during a ‘frenzied attack’.
David Laponder appeared in Liverpool Crown Court today, Wednesday, following the horrific assault on Old Liverpool Road in Sankey Bridges on Saturday, March 21.
His sentence is made up of nine years and three months to be served in custody and a further two-year licence period as Judge Brian Cummings deemed him a potential risk to members of the public.
The 35-year-old, from Stockport, attacked Daniel Gibbons, the president of the Warrington branch of the Sons of Hell biker gang, and caused him to suffer a fractured skull and a bleed on the brain.
The defendant, a member of the Tameside chapter of the club, was seen at the door of a house shortly after 11am on the day of the incident, while Mr Gibbons was stood on the pavement.
Both parties were shouting at one another before the assailant chased his victim across the carriageway, with the latter heard to say: “Dave, just drop the knife.”
They began ‘wrestling’, and Mr Gibbons, 35, fell to the floor before being subjected to an ‘extremely violent attack as he lay defenceless on the ground’.
With blood pouring from the back of his head, Mr Gibbons, from Widnes, was chased further down the road, and the row continued near to the junction with Hesketh Street as members of the public ‘bravely’ tried to intervene.
He was then picked up by a blue Ford Focus and rushed to Warrington Hospital before being discharged two days later.
Meanwhile, Laponder rode away from the scene on his Harley Davidson after being ‘calmed down’ by a friend.
Judge Brian Cummings, passing sentence in Liverpool Crown Court, said: “Only a substantial sentence of immediate custody can be approached in this case.”
Turing to the aggravating features in the case, Judge Cummings said: “The meat cleaver was taken by you a short time before the incident from the kitchen of the house where you were staying.
“This was in a public street on a Saturday morning, in the view of onlookers.
“You were, at the time, under the influence of alcohol and had taken cocaine.
“Following an initial confrontation, Mr Gibbons left the scene for a time.
“Rather than leaving the area yourself, you remained at the scene with the cleaver and attacked him when he returned.”
Laponder was said to pose a ‘high risk of serious harm to members of the public’, meaning Judge Cummings imposed the extended sentence.
But, he added that the offence was not so serious as to justify life imprisonment.
Laponder also pleaded guilty to possession of an offensive weapon in a public place and assaulting an emergency services worker.
The latter count relates to an incident at Cheshire Police’s custody suite in Runcorn after his arrest at his home address four days after the incident.
Having been showing symptoms of coronavirus in the early days of the pandemic, he deliberately coughed in the face of a custody sergeant when he was told he was being charged with attempted murder.
This charge was dropped.
Laponder had previously admitted wounding with intent.
Speaking after the hearing, Detective Constable Darren Burns, of Warrington Local Policing Unit, said: “This was a truly shocking and brazen attack that took place in broad daylight.
“Laponder repeatedly struck the victim to the head in a fury of rage that was displayed to numerous people nearby.
“The victim showed huge strength in fighting off his attacker while on the floor and was able to flee. He attended hospital for treatment and will continue to recover from the assault.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank the public, who put their own safety at risk by intervening, and for the footage and information they provided.”
David Keane, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, said: “This was an appalling attack and my thoughts are with the man who was targeted and those who witnessed it take place.
“I want to take this opportunity to praise all the officers involved in the incident who have ensured a dangerous man is removed from our community.”
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