‘Old enough to know better’…mass brawl broke out as row between feuding neighbors boiled over

A mass brawl broke out in the lobby of a block of flats after a row between feuding neighbors exploded. There was ongoing, unexplained animosity between Gary McGann and another man who lived in a neighboring high rise tower in Ashton-under-Lyne.

When the pair met in one of the blocks, their argument soon descended into a fight involving weapons. McGann, 54, admitted he ‘lost it’. During the ugly incident, which lasted for about 20 minutes, McGann and the other man began brawling. At one point McGann could be seen armed with a spanner.

McGann and the other man ended up on the floor of the lobby within the tower block. Shortly after, Kieron Ankers, 24, and Mickie Wilson, 22, arrived at the door of the lobby, both armed with knives.

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They forced their way in and a mass brawl involving the four men and others ensued, with McGann beginning to punch his neighbour. The neighbor then left and went back to his flat from him, while McGann left with Ankers and Wilson.

But the incident summarized later, when the neighbor went to the area below a first floor balcony where Ankers and Wilson had been. Police were called by CCTV security operators who saw the disgraceful incident unfold.

Prosecutors said there was no evidence that the knives were used. McGann, Ankers and Wilson were arrested. McGann said he was visiting a friend prior to the incident, and that the man had attacked him.

He has admitted he ‘lost it’ and punched him in the head several times. The neighbor and other men present at the scene, in the early hours of January 14 last year, have not been charged, Minshull Street Crown Court heard.

Kieron Ankers and Mickie Wilson

Defending McGann, Mark Fireman said that trouble had ‘come to him’ that night. He said the other man initially had the spanner and that McGann had wrestled it from him.

“He is old enough to know better isn’t he?,” Judge Bernadette Baxter said of McGann. Barristers for Ankers and Wilson said they acted ‘impulsively’ and ‘inadvisably’.

“While it may be the case that no members of the public were around because it was the early hours of the morning, people living their are entitled to come and go from that block of flats in peace, whatever time they choose,” the judge said.

All three men avoided jail, after the judge heard they had previously been subject to lengthy curfews prior to being sentenced. McGann, of Park Street, Ashton, and Ankers, of Laburnum Avenue, were both sentenced to five months in prison, suspended for 18 months, after admitting affray.

Wilson, of Cheetham Hill Road, Dukinfield, received a 14 month prison sentence suspended for 18 months, after pleading guilty to affray and other offenses including dangerous driving in relation to a separate incident. The trio were also ordered to complete rehabilitation activity requirement days.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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