A BIKER gang member struck a chapter president over the head with a meat cleaver eight times during a ‘frenzied attack’.

David Laponder appeared in court to be sentenced today, Friday, over the horrific assault on Old Liverpool Road in Sankey Bridges – which was committed in the street in full view of a number of shocked witnesses on a Saturday morning.

The 35-year-old, from Stockport, had previously admitted wounding with intent.

But a charge of attempted murder was dropped.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that Daniel Gibbons – the president of the Warrington branch of the Sons of Hell biker gang – suffered a fractured skull and a bleed on the brain after Laponder inflicted a series of ‘ferocious’ blows on him using the blade.

The defendant – a member of the Tameside chapter of the club – was seen at the door of a house shortly after 11am on March 21 this year, while Mr Gibbons was stood on the pavement.

Both parties were shouting at one another before the assailant chased his victim across the carriageway, with the latter heard to say: “Dave, just drop the knife.”

They began ‘wrestling’, and Mr Gibbons fell to the floor before being subjected to an ‘extremely violent attack as he lay defenceless on the ground’.

A window cleaner who saw the assault described ‘feeling sick’ at the sound of the meat cleaver hitting the 35-year-old’s head, while another witness described Laponder as having the ‘look of a villain out of a horror film’.

Despite being seen with blood pouring from the back of his head, Mr Gibbons – from Widnes – was chased further down the road, and the row continued near to the junction with Hesketh Street as members of the public ‘bravely’ tried to intervene.

Warrington Guardian:

He was then picked up by a blue Ford Focus and rushed to Warrington Hospital before being discharged two days later.

Meanwhile, Laponder rode away from the scene on his Harley Davidson after being ‘calmed down’ by a friend.

The incident was caught on the dashcams of passing vehicles, shocking videos that were played to the court this afternoon.

While the weapon was never recovered, a meat cleaver was missing from a block of knives in the kitchen of the property in which Laponder had been drinking and taking cocaine since around 4am.

Giving evidence in court, he claimed that he had been attempting to buy more drugs from his victim but that the exchange had become violent and Mr Gibbons had threatened to shoot him.

Laponder said in the witness box: “He was a bit unhappy that I’d sent a message rather than called him, because it was talking about drugs – he was just a bit annoyed and wouldn’t let it drop.

“I said something that he thought was a bit sarky, he thought that I was speaking down to him because I was trying to make light of it and brush it off.

“He grabbed me by my face and I grabbed him back by his shirt, and he told me he was going to get me thrown out for putting hands on him – he said he was my superior and I shouldn’t be back chatting.

“He reached into his pocked for something and I know he carries sometimes, I knew it was obviously a weapon in his pocket so I grabbed the meat cleaver – he tried to punch me when he saw me reaching.

“Danny said he was going to shoot me and left the scene.

“About 20 minutes later, a car pulled up and he bent down into the front footwell on the passenger side.

Warrington Guardian:

“I remember saying to him ‘go ahead then, shoot me’.

“I struck down a few times but never hit anything and “I sort of snapped out of it when I saw the blood on his head – the last two, I think it was, connected.

“It happened so fast, it was the heat of the moment – I don’t remember what went through my mind.

“He wasn’t there to talk to me, he was there to attack me – it was inevitable.

“I never tried to kill anybody.”

Old Liverpool Road was closed for several hours in the aftermath of the incident.

Laponder also pleaded guilty to possession of an offensive weapon in a public place and assault an emergency services worker.

The latter count relates to an incident at Cheshire Police’s custody suite in Runcorn after his arrest at his home address four days after the incident.

Having been showing symptoms of coronavirus in the early days of the pandemic, he deliberately coughed in the face of a custody sergeant when he was told he was being charged with attempted murder.

Judge Brian Cummings delayed his sentencing exercise due to the court running out of time, having sat until 5pm.

The hearing will now resume next week.