A POWYS woman took a machete to a business meeting with an associate over a £300,000 dispute after investing in his cryptocurrency enterprise.
Welshpool Magistrates’ Court heard this week Romaine Colthurst had taken the machete – a family heirloom – with her to the meeting with Lyndon Farrington in Llangedwyn to “make a point”.
The 53-year-old on Tuesday, January 10 was jailed for six months – but magistrates suspended the sentence for 12 months.
The court was told Colthurst, from Llanymynech, had invested £320,000 in Mr Farrington’s cryptocurrency business and lost lots of money. She had gone to his premises to confront him about the investment on November 16 last year. The court also heard the dispute is the subject of a separate civil court case.
Colthurst admitted a charge of possessing a bladed article at Welshpool Magistrates’ Court.
Prosecutor Helen Tench said the business meeting between Colthurst and Mr Farrington took place at Llangedwyn Mill, where his company, Beep Mine Ltd, is based.
“She attended on the day at Llangedwyn Mill, as well as with a man called Leroy, and she was in possession of a machete,” said Mrs Tench.
“He escorted her out and it was then that he noticed the machete in her right hand. It had not been pointed and no threats were made.”
Officers went to Colthurst’s Penyfoel home in Llanymynech, where she initially slammed the door shut before allowing them in.
“She told officers the machete was located in the driver’s side door of her vehicle,” Mrs Tench added.
“She then said she had attended Mr Farrington’s property the day before. Asked what she did when she got there she said she ‘brushed my hair and made sure my make-up and hair was straight, and adjusted the machete under my coat’.
“She said she was ‘just carrying it’. She told officers that statute laws of the land did not apply to her and added that she had the machete ‘for the visual aspect’ and ‘to make a point’.”
Representing the defendant, Pretesh Chauhan said his client acknowledged that taking the machete to the meeting was “unacceptable”.
“Nothing I say is designed to excuse the fact that she was transporting a weapon to what was essentially a business meeting,” said Mr Chauhan.
“The best evidence of her character is her record, or lack thereof. There is not a blemish on it. She writes children’s books which she hopes to have published.
“Her income is through rental properties owned by her family.
“Ms Colthurst made an ill-advised decision to take what is essentially a family heirloom to the meeting. She uses it on her estate to cut down grass and vegetation. She had not taken it for any other purpose.
“There is mention of another man present but he was more of a middle man. She felt it was a meeting she had to take due to the amount of money she’s lost.”
He added: “We refute any suggestion she made a threat.”
A pre-sentence report was completed by probation officer Julian Davies, who told the court: “She lost lots of money and went to confront him about the investment, and in a moment of madness took her grandfather’s machete.
“She said she would never have used it, it was just a defence precaution. She is extremely remorseful.”
Mr Davies said Colthurst told him her last paid employment was 10 years ago, as an office manager, and that she now lives off a family inheritance. He added that she has been 25 years sober.
Chair of the bench Nick Powell told Colthurst: “Carrying a machete in a public place to a meeting is clearly not acceptable.
“We have deviated from custody because of your good character, remorse and no previous convictions.”
Colthurst must also complete 150 hours of unpaid work, pay a £154 surcharge and £85 costs. No compensation was ordered.
They also ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the machete.