Wigan dad in petrol station row had weapon in car

A dad-of-one was caught carrying an offensive weapon in his car following a row at a petrol station, a court heard.

Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 10:15 am
Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court

Christopher McDonagh was being spoken to by police following a heated confrontation with staff over a payment issue, when a routine search of his vehicle found an extendable baton inside.

McDonagh, a 25-year-old dad living in Seascale Crescent, Swinley, pleaded guilty to possession of an offensive weapon in a hearing at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard that police were called to the car park at Wigan’s Tesco Extra hypermarket on October 24, after concerned staff had raised the alarm.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

McDonagh had become abusive and confrontational after his card was declined when trying to pay for his fuel, said prosecutor Tess Kenyon.

PC Woods, who was sent to the scene, tried to defuse the situation by offering to drive McDonagh to a cash machine so that he could pay, but his card was declined by an ATM too.

He was detained when it was determined that he had had “no intention to pay”, and a search of his vehicle was carried out.

PC Woods then found the baton inside.

The hearing was told that McDonagh was subsequently arrested and taken to the police station for questioning.

He told officers that he had recently purchased the car from a seller in Preston and had found the weapon in the car, but then he had forgotten about it.

There was no suggestion that he had wielded the baton during the altercation with Tesco staff nor used it to threaten anybody, and it was only discovered during the subsequent police search.

Defending, Fatima Uddin told the court that her client was a single parent with sole custody of his six-year-old daughter who has been living in Wigan since moving from Northern Ireland in August this year.

“He comes to court very regretful and remorseful for his actions,” Ms Uddin said. “He maintains that he bought the car from a seller in Preston and that the baton was already inside. He accepts he should have disposed of it, but he didn’t.”

McDonagh also briefly addressed the court himself, to iterate that the fuel was ultimately paid for.

He was given a 12-month community order comprising 160 hours of unpaid work and a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

The bench also ordered him to pay £85 in court costs and a £90 victim surcharge.