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Roger Ball avoids jail after threatening to kill son following family barbecue in Hadlow

A family barbecue ended in violence after a father was attacked by his son – and he reacted by grabbing a knife and threatening to kill him, a court heard.

Father-of-four Roger Ball had sunk 12 cans of lager and went to bed following a row with his wife at their home in Hope Avenue, Hadlow.

But he awoke in terror to find his eldest son Jake punching him to the head, causing an injury to his eye.

Violence erupted at the barbeque. Library image.
Violence erupted at the barbeque. Library image.

In a rage, the 48-year-old traffic manager “saw red” and picked up a knife. He went back into the garden and told his 21-year-old son to get out of his life and if he returned he would cut him.

He eventually handed over the blade but then picked up a large carving knife.

Prosecutor James Ross said Ball came out of the house two or three times and became increasingly aggressive, waving the weapon around.

One witness who intervened said he feared for his safety when Ball lunged the knife at him. He noticed a big gash over Ball’s eye that was bleeding heavily.

Judge Heather Baucher
Judge Heather Baucher

Jake Ball refused to support a prosecution against his father.

Mr Ross said when interviewed Ball admitted drinking some 12 cans of Fosters and arguing with his wife Kelly. He went to bed at 9.30pm and was woken up by his son punching him in the face.

He added that he lost control, picked up a knife and went outside to threaten his son. He said: “I just snapped and saw red.” He accepted he was out of control.

Ball admitted affray and possessing a weapon in a public place - but avoided a jail sentence after Judge Heather Baucher said it was an exceptional case.

"These are serious matters. The public is rightly concerned about knife crime" - Judge Heather Baucher

She told him: “Suffice to say, your family barbecue went dramatically wrong. It was supposed to be a fun event.

“As so often happens, when alcohol takes control everything else goes out of control. You admitted you completely lost it.

“Ordinarily, the use of knives - waving them around, shouting threats, swiping them at people - would be an immediate custodial sentence. You should be under no illusions about that.

“These are serious matters. The public is rightly concerned about knife crime. But this is an exceptional case.

Maidstone Crown Court. Picture John Wardley
Maidstone Crown Court. Picture John Wardley

“This is a family occasion that went out of control. There is not a blemish on your record. You are hard working. It has made a relationship which was already under strain become further under strain.

“You must not waste this chance. You should do your best to reconcile with your family and put this incident behind you.

“I hope the sentence will assist you in being rehabiitated. Once this incident is behind you I hope you can move forward and get on with what life is about.”

Ball was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for 12 months with 120 hours unpaid work. He was ordered to pay £350 costs.

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