Paul ‘Cookie’ Cook, 65, injured pensioner Stephen Leonard outside his home after the defendant’s wife had reversed her car onto the driveway and kept her lights on which shone into the pensioner’s home
This is the moment a champion darts player battered his neighbor with a brick during an ongoing feud over parking.
Paul ‘Cookie’ Cook, 65, injured pensioner Stephen Leonard outside his home as the pair live opposite each other.
Cook has played darts in Las Vegas and appeared in The World Match Play and World Championship Qualifiers.
Cook and his neighbour, who he has known for 30 years, had ”ongoing issues” ”for a long time”, Swindon Magistrates Court heard.
Keith Ballinger, prosecuting, said that the Cook’s wife had reversed her car onto the driveway and kept her lights on.
The lights were shining into Mr Leonard’s living room and were dazzling him, the court heard.
Mr Leonard went outside to speak to Cook’s wife about her car lights but the defendant appeared and things escalated, it was aid.
The pair were shouting and swearing at each other during the dispute, which lasted a couple of minutes.
As the argument came to an end, the defendant returned to his driveway, picked up a gray paving brick and bashed it over his neighbor’s head – despite his wife screaming “Paul, don’t do it”.
The victim immediately fell to the floor, where Cook punched him in the head before being pulled to the ground by Mr Leonard, who in the end, was on top of the defendant.
Mr Leonard, who usually walks aided by a stick, suffers cuts and bruises to his head, eye, cheekbone and elbow.
Cook, who won the News of the World Championship in 1990 and the Plymouth Open in 2015, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm on October 22, 2021.
He told officers that picked up the brick to place it on the wall but forgot it was in his hand before he used it to strike Mr Leonard with it.
In a victim impact statement, Mr Leonard said he continues to experience pain in his cheek and he often wakes up in the night thinking about the assault.
He added: “I do feel intimidated by him, I’m worried it could happen again.
“I’m scared he may come to the door and I feel unsafe on my own property. I’m very wary of him now because I know what he is capable of.”
Liz Highams, defending, said her client has had ongoing issues and provocation from her neighbor for a long time.
She told the court: “He’s reacted and he’s reacted badly.”
The court heard how Cook suffers from a heart condition and severe mental health issues, including depression and anxiety.
Probation officer Michelle James said the defendant is not suitable for some punitive elements – including unpaid work and a curfew – due to his illnesses, and recommended a Band D fine.
The chief magistrate imposed a £265 fine, £85 prosecution costs and a £34 surcharge.
He said: “ABH is a serious offence, but we understand that there was an element of provocation.”
No compensation was awarded “due to the nature of the relationship” between the pair, and no restraining order was made because it was “not practical” in the circumstances.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.