Hatfield Olympic boxer’s dad snaps over hate campaign
THE father of Olympic boxer Billy Joe Saunders snapped over a jealous hate campaign towards his son, a court heard.
Thomas Saunders confronted those he held responsible at the Holwell caravan site, off the A414 near Hatfield.
At Central Herts Magistrates’ Court, Saunders admitted smashing a stone through the van window of fellow traveller Dean Draper, but only after he had tried to run him down.
The 46-year-old told magistrates that, on October 10 last year, he had gone to another caravan on the site to confront Thomas Casey, who he said had been making false claims to police that guns, cash and drugs could be found at Saunders’ home.
Two days earlier the area around Saunders’ caravan, which light-middleweight Billy Joe still lives next door to, was “crawling with police” acting on an unfounded tip off, the court heard.
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In the months before, pizzas they had not ordered were delivered on numerous occasions, which Saunders said was designed to aggravate his son while trying to make his fighting weight.
Saunders, who earns �280 a week at a recycling centre, said the food was paid for despite not ordering it because he did not want the papers to be able to report anything negative about his son.
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The court heard Saunders had been drinking Stella and scrumpy on the morning he saw Mr Draper, who he blamed for the pizza deliveries.
The prosecution alleged Saunders smashed the window of Mr Draper’s Ford Transit van and punched him numerous times before attacking him with a lump of wood ripped from the fence around his caravan as he tried to escape.
However, Saunders claimed he only threw the stone after Mr Draper “jumped into his van” and tried to run him down at speed, before reversing to do it again.
Saunders said he had tried to hit Mr Draper with a piece of wood from a fence, but missed.
He added the injuries seen on Dean Draper’s face were as a result of being a bare knuckle fighter – and that he had featured on Channel 4’s Big Fat Gypsy Weddings programme boasting about the fact he took part in the illegal bouts.
Saunders was found guilty on Friday of two counts of criminal damage to the car and a fence, but not guilty of common assault.
He received a 12-month conditional discharge and was prohibited contact with several witnesses in the case by a restraining order.
He must pay �285 of Mr Draper’s vehicle insurance excess, and �300 costs.