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Man jailed for meat cleaver attack

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Charly Austen was jailed for four years at Canterbury Crown Court
Charly Austen was jailed for four years at Canterbury Crown Court

ONE MAN’S skull was exposed and another suffered a fractured elbow after being hit with a meat cleaver.

The injuries were inflicted during a late night fight in Herne Bay.

Now a 27-year-old man has been jailed for four years for the woundings.

Charly Austen, of Station Road, Herne Bay, claimed he was acting in self defence when he injured Toby Winson and Manpreet Hothi in November, but was convicted of wounding after a crown court trial.

Jailing Austen, Judge Michael O’Sullivan said the gravity could not be underestimated.

“To enter a volatile situation with a cleaver and cause such serious injuries must result in prison. Mercifully more serious injuries were not sustained.”

He said the offences were exacerbated by being committed in the centre of Herne Bay and it was no wonder that law abiding citizens feared going out at night.

Austin had convictions for criminal damage, public order, assault on police and excess alcohol and admitted he had had a drink problem.

The cleaver incident flared after an altercation at a bus stop outside Austen’s home which involved one of his friends who was dragged from the house.

As Mr Winson was attending to one of his friends who was unconscious on the ground, he was hit on the forehead.

Mr Hothi had seen Austen hit Mr Winson with the cleaver causing a four centimetre cut that left him scarred for life.

As Mr Hothi backed away, Austin swung the cleaver. The other man put his left arm up to protect himself and the cleaver cut through clothing and caused a three centimetre cut on his elbow and an open fracture.

At one stage, Austen gave Mr Winson a towel to stem the bleeding. He was arrested as he tried to escape via a rear window.

He claimed he grabbed the cleaver to protect himself because a knife had been mentioned.

Austen demonstrated waving the cleaver from side to side, but Judge O’Sullivan said this did not account for the vertical wound.

No knife was seen in anybody’s possession and Judge O’Sullivan commented that neither of the victims had taken part in any gratuitous violence.

Thirty days will be docked from Austen’s sentence as time served on remand.

Peter Forbes, for Austen, said the head injury had been caused by a flick of the wrist with the cleaver when Austen was waving it about.

“He was very drunk and the alcohol may have disinhibited him and made his judgement poorer,” he said.

He added Austen was not looking for trouble that night but was dealing with a confrontation in a reckless way.

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