Devon and Cornwall feud at Young Farmers event led to fight

Exeter Crown Court
Image caption The two groups have since agreed to end the cross-Tamar vendetta

A young farmer broke a rival's jaw as part of a long-standing feud between Devon and Cornwall farming groups.

Thomas Richards, who has been given a suspended sentence, was unhappy at being hit with a crutch at a meeting and another fight occurred as members left an event, a court heard.

Richards, 23, of West Lydcott Farm in Highampton, Devon, admitted causing grievous bodily harm.

At Exeter Crown Court he was jailed for 10 months, suspended for two years.

'Knocked unconscious'

There was tension between farmers from either side of the Tamar which came to a head at the meeting at Sourton, near Okehampton, last year.

Richards, who has just started his own agricultural business near Holsworthy, clashed with victim Jake Crabb, who comes from the Cornish side of the border at Alturnan, near Launceston.

Mr Crabb needed a plate fitted in his broken jaw and spent weeks on a liquid diet after being hit by a single punch, the court was told.

Eleanor Purkis, prosecuting, said the assault happened on 26 April last year after an annual Young Farmers event at Sourton.

She said the victim had just left the event when he was punched once in the face and knocked unconscious. He was taken to hospital by a friend and found to have a fractured jaw.

Mr Crabb lost £1,000 in wages through being unable to work.

The two men made contact by Facebook after the event and Richards apologised and the two groups agreed to end the vendetta, the court heard.

Recorder Paul Grumbar said: "You have come very close to losing your liberty.

"The references show you are otherwise a responsible, hard working and serious minded young man and show this offence was completely out of character."

Richards was also ordered to pay £1,000 compensation, and do 200 hours unpaid community work.

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