Pensioner admits ‘river rage’ incident

First published in Milford Mercury news

A 70-YEAR-OLD man from Monkton has admitted his involvement in a rare incident of ‘river rage’ on the Cleddau.

John Edward Mathias first crashed into another boat and then threatened two men with a knife before being wrestled to the ground by a police officer.

Mathias, of Gwilliam Court, denied a charge of affray, but admitted a Section Four public order offence when he appeared at Swansea crown court to be sentenced last Friday.

Nicola Preece, prosecuting, said Kevin John Evans and Ben Cuttin had been at Llangwm Pill on May 5 when they saw a boat next to a yacht owned by Mr Cuttin.

The yacht was up for sale and at first they thought a prospective buyer might be having a look.

They sailed over in Mr Evans’ boat but soon realised that Mathias had crashed into the yacht – causing damage later put at £2,750 – and that he was in the process of pulling free his anchor, which had become entangled with the yacht.

Mathias refused to provide details of his insurance company and, having freed his anchor, began to drift off.

Mr Evans and Mr Cuttin jumped onto his boat.

Mathias threatened them with a knife and when Mr Evans managed to grab his hand, Mr Cuttin jabbed him in the back with a boat hook.

After they had returned to Mr Evans’ boat Mathias tried to ram their vessel before zigzagging his way up the river.

Miss Preece said by the time Mathias reached dry land police were waiting.

But he continued to be aggressive and had to be taken to the ground and handcuffed. Even then he threatened “to have” the officers the moment he was released.

An alcohol test showed he had been twice over the legal limit for a motorist.

His defence barrister Dean Pulling said Mathias was a man of 70 and of impeccable character. He had bought his boat after retiring from the sandblasting company he had owned and had intended to turn it into a house boat.

Judge Huw Davies said Mathias might want to take along some sensible company the next time he set out.

The initial accident, he added, should have been settled in a gentlemanly fashion, but instead turned sour and ended in “colossal embarrassment.”

Mathias was conditionally discharged for 12 months and ordered to pay £105 prosecution costs.

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