Inquest - fatal farm attack was an act of “retribution”

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A man died after a gang of up to 20 people armed with an array of weapons descended on a travellers’ commune seeking “retribution” for an incident at a fair, an inquest heard.

Sidney Cox, suffered multiple injuries during the attack at Thorpe House Farm, on Middleton Lane in the village of Thorpe near Rothwell, on the evening of August 24.

An inquest into the 57-year-old’s death was opened at Leeds Coroner’s Court yesterday.

Detective Chief Inspector Jon Morgan, of West Yorkshire Police’s homicide and major enquiry team, told coroner David Hinchliff he had been called to the farm following reports of an assault.

He said: “Thorpe House Farm is a small gipsy commune occupied by a number of families.

“An altercation had taken place earlier in the day at the [Lee Gap] fair in Tingley, which resulted in a group of men travelling from the Doncaster area with various weapons to seek retribution.

“A group of up to 20 people fought their way into the farm and Mr Cox was set upon by various members of the group.”

A murder investigation was launched after Mr Cox, who was born in Castleford and had lived in Morley, died in the early hours of the following day.

The inquest heard that 17 people had already been arrested in connection with the inquiry.

Two men from Doncaster – 24-year-old John Edwards Nicholson, of Little Lane, and 39-year-old Michael Valance Dear, of Norton Common Road, Askern – have been charged with murder.

A third man – Ambrose Dear, 39, of Stocksbridge Lane, Doncaster – has been charged with conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm.

Det Chief Insp Morgan added: “I anticipate that further people will be arrested and may be charged.”

Mr Hinchliff adjourned the inquest pending the conclusion of criminal proceedings.