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Three men and teenage boy attacked after row over poster at boot fair in Wrotham Showground: Court


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Boot fair rivalry erupted into violence in front of horrified bargain hunters and stallholders, a court heard.

Three men and a teenage boy were attacked after a poster advertising a car boot sale at Wrotham Showground ended up on the "patch" of another fair in nearby Swanley.

One alleged victim ended up with his wrist in plaster while another had his bottom set of teeth fractured after they were allegedly struck with a table leg during the Saturday morning onslaught in July last year.

A boot fair. Stock image
A boot fair. Stock image

Father and son Daniel and Daley Bibby were said to be "thoroughly steamed up" and in a state of "high dudgeon" over the advertising of the Wrotham boot sale "on their territory," said prosecutor Crispian Cartwright at the start of their trial at Maidstone Crown Court.

"An advertisement had gone up at or near the patch which the two Bibbys regarded as theirs - their land, their place for their boot fair.

"What they wanted to do was frighten off the competition and to punish those who had the effrontery to advertise their boot fair on their patch."

Mr Cartwright added that the pair had acted as a team, each playing a part in the violence.

He told the jury: "You may find they were determined to teach these people a lesson."

Daniel Bibby, 55, and Daley Bibby, 25, of Swaley Way, Buckles Lane, South Ockenden in Essex, both deny inflicting grievous bodily harm on Joseph McCarthy and three charges of assault causing actual bodily harm on Robin Hedges, Leslie Cox and 17-year-old Thomas McCarthy.

The boot fair at Wrotham Hill at the top of London Road was in full swing on July 20 when the Bibbys arrived in a 4x4 vehicle just before 11am.

Mr Cox told the court that he was struck and fell to the ground "like a sack of potatoes".

Earlier that morning he had acted as an unpaid traffic marshall for his long-time friend and boot fair organiser, Mr McCarthy, and was wearing a high visibility vest.

With most people already at the sale he then decided to wander the stalls himself.

He then saw Thomas McCarthy in what he described as an "hysterical" state running towards him.

Nobody is being allowed into the crown court. Picture: Martin Apps
Nobody is being allowed into the crown court. Picture: Martin Apps

"He was fearful and anxious and I think he had blood on his face," said Mr Cox.

"I went to the entrance of the boot fair and I saw another worker on the floor. I knew him as Robin.

"He appeared to be in pain and was holding one of his legs. Stallholders and the general public were helping him."

Mr Cox said he was then approached by a man aged "30ish" and of a stocky, muscular build.

"He accused me of advertising this boot fair near his mother's boot fair," continued Mr Cox.

"He said it very aggressively, pointing. I said: 'I'm only helping out' and that's all I can remember. It's very vague."

Mr Cox said the man was confronting others, including shouting at Thomas McCarthy, before he was struck.

"I don't remember being hit but I remember being on the ground and realising I had been hit with something. I had been hit across the chin and eye.

"I hit the floor like a sack of potatoes so to speak and I remember lying on the floor thinking something has hit me but I couldn't understand what because there was nobody near to me at the time."

Mr Cox said he then saw a man "grappling" with Mr McCarthy Snr. "He was wrestling him to the ground and maybe had him in a headlock."

Another man then appeared who had a weapon in his hand and struck Mr McCarthy to his body.

Having managed to get himself off the ground, Mr Cox said he then repeatedly asked the two men to leave the boot fair.

But he said the younger man "took a stance" with him and was beckoning him to have a fight.

"I hit the floor like a sack of potatoes so to speak and I remember lying on the floor thinking something has hit me but I couldn't understand what because there was nobody near to me at the time" - Leslie Cox

"He was saying: 'Come on, Come on'. I didn't back away, I just kept reiterating: 'You've got to go'."

The court heard the men then left in the 4x4 but were stopped nearby by police. In their vehicle was one of the Wrotham boot fair posters.

Asked what injuries he sustained, Mr Cox said: "My bottom set of teeth were fractured, a scar over my left eye and my shoulder."

Mr McCarthy Snr suffered swelling and abrasions to his face, bruising to his arm and an injury to his wristbone which had to be put in plaster.

The prosecutor said both Bibbys made no comment to the police when interviewed but are likely to claim to the jury that they acted in self-defence.

However, Mr Cartwright said they had "latched on" to this defence at a very late stage.

He added: "They were the ones who wanted to be violent, who were steamed up, who were aggrieved and behaved in this reprehensible fashion."

The trial continues.


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