Machete man’s sentence cut — (Cotswold Journal)

SSRI Ed note: Man, 44, in antidepressant withdrawal attacks former spouse and her boyfriend.

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Cotswold Journal

Thursday 31 January 2008

A CHIPPING Norton man who ran amok with a machete after his ex-wife took up with another man had his sentence reduced by top judges on Tuesday.

William Russell Forester, of West Street, was originally jailed for three years and nine months at Oxford Crown Court last October after admitting threatening behaviour, damaging property and attempting to cause grievous bodily harm.

London’s Appeal Court heard the 44-year-old was in a state of emotional turmoil when he tried to smash his way into the former matrimonial home last April, finally using a slab of concrete to force his way inside.

The machete-wielding divorcee then wrestled with his wife’s new boyfriend, Aaron Baker, who had to resort to using a hammer to contain the attacker.

Mr Justice Wilkie – sitting in London’s Appeal Court with Judge Peter Beaumont – said Forester had spent the evening drinking in the pub and materialised at the home of his ex-spouse, Sandra, in the early hours.

After hurling threats and obscenities at the house and surrounding neighbourhood, Forester approached the front door and tried to gain entry.

Mr Baker saw the marauder’s hand snaking through the front door in an attempt to get in, although he was thwarted at this point.

Forester later threatened to “slice” Mr Baker up with the savage blade.

Mr Justice Wilkie said Forester was undoubtedly guilty of an “appalling” offence, but said medical evidence suggested he may have been influenced by the effects of withdrawal from anti-depressants at the time.

It was also significant that neither Mr Baker, nor Forester’s ex-wife, bore him any lasting ill-will, having simply “got on with their lives”.

The judge cut Forester’s sentence to two and a half years.

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