Judge shows leniency on trio after death of Rikki Baldwin
THE drowning of Rikki Baldwin has prompted a judge to pass lenient sentences on three of his relatives involved in a violent clash between rival gangs from Sedbury and Chepstow.
Although Judge Jamie Tabor QC allowed the three men to walk free from Gloucester Crown Court he warned he will jail anyone involved in similar trouble in Sedbury in future.
Rikki Baldwin, 24, was also a defendant in the case but died in May after being seen jumping from a bridge into the River Severn. An inquest into his death is to be held.
His stepfather, Duncan Peters, 37, stepson Jordan Thorne-Peters, 18, and nephew Ben Thorne, also 18, were all in the dock yesterday after admitting involvement in the violence.
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After hearing of the roles the three played during the skirmishing in Sedbury on April 1 last year Judge Tabor said he took the effect of Baldwin's death on them into account.
"We all know the fourth defendant, who was your relation, is no longer before us," said the judge.
"If you have not learned your lesson from these tragic events you never will. I hope those in Chepstow hear what I have said as well."
The judge said his decision to allow the three defendants their liberty was "exceptional".
Duncan Peters, of Beachley Road, Sedbury, who admitted affray, was placed on a three months 8pm-6am curfew and ordered to pay £100 costs.
Jordan Thorne-Peters, also of Beachley Road, admitted affray and was sentenced to do 120 hours of unpaid work and also pay £100 costs. And Ben Thorne, of The Threeway, Littledean, who admitted possessing an offensive weapon, was also ordered to do 120 hours unpaid work and pay costs of £100.
Rikki Baldwin, also of Beachley Road, had been charged with affray but proceedings against him were stayed by the court after his death.
Prosecutors said on the night of April 1 last year rival gangs from Chepstow and Sedbury were involved in a series of disturbances and skirmishes in Sedbury.
The Chepstow gang had made threats to Thorne-Peters and Peters had issued some threats of his own. Thorne was seen in possession of a metal bar or tentpole during the incident.
Judge Tabor told the trio: "These scenes of public disorder simply will not be tolerated.
"I want to make it quite plain not only to you but to those in Chepstow who may be of a like mind - if there is any repeat by anyone in Chepstow or Sedbury of what took place last April they will come before me and they will go to prison. Full stop."