A CHINESE takeaway chef who plunged a meat cleaver into a colleague's skull after an argument about food preparation has been jailed for eleven years.
The blazing row between 39-year-old father-of-two Qiang Gao, of Acorn Drive, Thatcham, and his head chef and victim, Kok Yuan Woon, ended in bloodshed outside the Scezhuan Express Chinese takeaway on May 28.
The two men twice had to be separated by co-workers after going face to face with each other before taking their argument outside the restaurant.
Reading Crown Court heard how Mr Woon had initially swung a meat clever at Gao, who retaliated - hitting Mr Woon twice over the head and in the shoulder, leaving a series of horrific injuries.
Sentencing Gao, Judge Reddihough said that Gao could have walked away after the incident.
"It is plain to me you simply lost your temper and attacked him in revenge for what had earlier happened when, as I have said, there was no need for you to do that. You could have just left.
"It is a very great shame you have put yourself in this position when, until then, you have been a hard working man doing your best for your wife and children.
"I also bear very much in mind you are now 39-years-old with no previous convictions here or in your home country.
"However, I have to follow sentencing guidelines for this very serious offence of attempted murder."
Investigating officer, Det Con Gareth Perry from Force CID at Newbury police station said: “The victim in this assault sustained substantial injuries and although nothing can change what he went through, I hope that the sentence given to Gao today will help him to feel some sense of justice.
“Gao was apprehended and charged very quickly, and the conviction today is testament to the hard work of a large number of officers involved in the case.
“Violent crime has no place in our community and will not be tolerated. This sentencing is an example of how Thames Valley Police works to protect the community and bring offenders to justice.”
Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: “Following an initial disagreement in the kitchen about preparing chicken and Gao demanding his wages, there were further arguments between the two men involving a physical altercation between them.
"The evidence suggested that the victim wielded a meat cleaver causing an injury to the arm of Gao. As the victim was walking away, having discarded his meat cleaver, Gao went after the victim with his own meat cleaver and attacked the victim with it.
"Blows were struck to both the back and the front of the victim’s skull. The victim sustained severe head injuries, including a fractured skull, which could have had far worse consequences.
"There is no doubt that, with the force used, Gao intended to kill the victim.
"Gao clearly acted out of blind retaliation in a grossly disproportionate manner and is undoubtedly an extremely dangerous man.
“Gao answered no comment during his police interview and subsequently denied attempted murder, claiming self-defence, but was found guilty by a jury 20 November 2015, after a five-day trial at Reading Crown Court despite his denials.
“We know that nothing can undo what happened to the victim, but we hope that the conviction and today’s sentence bring him at least a small sense that justice has been done. Our thoughts are very much with him at this time.”
For more of the sentencing and court coverage see Thursday's Newbury Weekly News.