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Reading Crown Court: Feud over unpaid bill led to violence and rape threats in Newbury

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A FEUD between a Hermitage family and a Newbury contractor over building work led to bloody mayhem.

The victims also had their vehicle rammed and there was a threat to rape any children they might have, Reading Crown Court heard.

The astonishing scenes, including a savage assault with a metal chain, were played out in public after builder Barry Roberts, of Newbury-based Cold Rolled Solutions, claimed he was ripped off by 45-year-old Steve Banham.

Crown Court (52475371)
Crown Court (52475371)

In the dock were Banham and Linda Clarke, aged 41, both of Manor Lane, Oare, Hermitage, and their son, Jimmy (also known as Jimmy-Shaun) Frankham, who lives in Wokingham, Berkshire.

Alan Gardner, prosecuting, said the initial confrontation took place outside One Stop in Avon Way, Newbury, on January 30, 2019.

Banham had allegedly refused to pay in full for building work Mr Roberts had carried out for him.

Mr Gardner added: “Barry Roberts arrived home from work one day with his business partner Tom Campbell.”

In a subsequent altercation when the defendants turned up at their home Mr Roberts’ wife, Nina, said she was branded a “grass” by Frankham, jurors heard.

Mr Gardner went on: “Nina Roberts asked him what he was talking about.

"In response, Jimmy Frankham told her to ‘get your husband down here now’.

"He then made threats of violence against Barry Roberts.”

Later, the court heard, Mr Roberts’ truck was rammed by a vehicle containing the three defendants and a chain attack by Frankham took place.

Mr Gardner said Clarke had egged on her son and added: “She shouted something like ‘Let him f****** have it, f****** hurt him, give it to him’” before shoving Mrs Roberts.”

Mr Roberts, who also had punches rained on him, was rushed, bleeding from a head wound caused by the metal chain, to hospital where he was treated for his injuries.

Then, in August 2019, with a trial pending, Mrs Roberts was driving through Newbury.

At a set of traffic lights, she saw Banham hanging out of the window of a silver Ford Fiesta driven by Linda Clarke.

Mr Gardner said Banham shouted at her ‘you f****** grasses.’

He also threatened to rape any children she may have had, the court heard – an allegation he denied.

Mr Gardner added: “Nina Roberts ... felt vulnerable and terrified as a result.

"The prosecution case is that Steve Banham’s intention was to intimidate Nina Roberts knowing that she was a witness in the forthcoming affray case.”

Defending Linda Clarke, Janick Fielding accused the victims of lying.

Defending Banham, Edward Culver said: “We know there was a confrontation but we don’t know what happened – we haven’t heard the full truth.”

Defending Frankham, who had refused to answer questions on his whereabouts, Gavin Holme said the victims were “mistaken” by saying he was at the scene.

He added it was his client’s right not to give evidence.

But Mr Gardner said the defence had put forward a lot of interesting conspiracy theories, but “like many conspiracy theories, they’re complete nonsense”.

All three had denied all the charges against them but on Tuesday Banham was convicted of affray and witness intimidation, Clarke was convicted of affray and Frankham was convicted of affray and assault.

The trio will be sentenced at a later date.

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