The bitter tit for tat violent feud between two rival Leeds families which resulted in seven men being jailed marks the culmination of a complex and dangerous 18-month investigation by police.
The YEP reported yesterday how members of the Pattison and James families received sentences totalling more than 25 after a jury found them guilty of conspiracy to commit serious violence.
The potentially deadly spate of clashes between the two groups came to a head when around 15 men “armed to the teeth” with lethal weapons confronted each other in full view of innocent members of the public going about their daily business.
Staff and customers at the Volkswagen dealership in Elland Road were left terrified when balaclava-clad men armed with machetes and other weapons burst into the showroom in pursuit of three other men on the morning of Thursday, October 31, last year.
Although none of those involved have ever revealed what started the bitter dispute, one factor is rumoured to have been a fallout over a bare knuckle fight.
In February 2013, a member of the James family was shot and injured in North Yorkshire, prompting an attempted murder investigation by detectives there.
At the time the victim told police he had no idea who had shot him or why anyone would.
In April 2013, a member of the Patterson family was attacked in Cleckheaton by a group of men armed with machetes. He sustained severe head injuries but survived the attack.
A police investigation into his attempted murder saw six men arrested and two subsequently charged with attempted murder.
That case began at Leeds Crown Court on October 3 but had to be discontinued after no witnesses turned up to give evidence.
Police were later told the matter had been dealt with “in house”.
On October 25, a member of the James family had taken his car to the Farnell Land Rover dealership, in Whitehouse Street, Leeds, accompanied by defendants Daniel James and Samuel James in a Ford transit van.
When Daniel James left the dealership, a Mitsubishi Pajero 4x4 pulled up and a man got out brandishing what appeared to be a machete.
James’s vehicle was rammed several times by a Ford Focus and a number of men then got out of both vehicles and tried to attack the occupants of James’s van.
He told officers he did not know why anyone would target him in this way and he and the others involved were unwilling to give statements or assist the police investigation.
Police believe this incident was directly linked to the collapse of the court case earlier that month.
Less than a week later the next episode of violence came with the incident at the Elland Road dealership.
At about 8.30am that morning police received a call from a member of the public reporting two vehicles driving badly - a yellow pick-up truck and a gold Jeep Cherokee.
The Jeep was badly damaged and driving at speed and it was thought both vehicles had been ramming each other.
Further calls from the public reported the same vehicles driving erratically and the occupants had been seen armed with weapons.
The Jeep was later found abandoned and heavily damaged in the Cottingley area of Leeds.
A crowbar, a wooden baton, a large industrial drill bit, a metal bar and a hammer were recovered from the vehicle.
The yellow pick-up was also recovered and two machetes and an axe were found inside. Enquiries showed the vehicle was registered to a member of the Kindon family, who are associates of the Pattisons.
At 9.51am police received a call reporting that a number of men armed with machetes and bats had entered the Richard Alexander Volkswagen dealership in Elland Road.
A Mitsubishi Pajero 4x4 containing several masked men had pulled up outside the premises and the occupants were seen to chase three men into the showroom.
Members of staff and customers were in fear for their safety and tried to hide, initially thinking it was an armed robbery.
The three men being pursued managed to hide in the back of the premises.
The masked men left the building a short time later and went to drive off in the Mitsubishi down pedestrian stairs in the middle of the forecourt.
This manoeuvre damaged the vehicle and rendered it unusable and it was abandoned on a grass verge outside the dealership.
The men then got into a Volvo and drove off followed by an unmarked police vehicle which had arrived at the scene.
The Volvo crashed on nearby Cannonbury Terrace and five or six men armed with weapons got out.
When one of the men raised his machete and began approaching the unmarked police car, the officer drove into him knocking him to the ground causing him to drop the machete. He then ran off with the other suspects who escaped through a nearby wooded area.
The Volvo was recovered for forensic examination along with two machetes, a large wrench and a long metal pole that were found inside.
A Mitsubishi Shogun that was involved in the incident was found abandoned in Robb Street, Beeston. The men who left it were seen discarding items of clothing which were later recovered by police along with various weapons.
An officer who attended the incident at the dealership saw two men leaving the forecourt and getting into a Nissan Navara 4x4. He attempted to detain one of the men, thought to have been the defendant Levi Pattison, but injured his elbow in the process and the men got away.
The vehicle was followed by a roads policing unit and stopped in Brown Lane East, Holbeck. Two men ran from the vehicle and got away but the driver and defendant Adam Kindon were arrested.
Levi Pattison - once a highly successful amateur boxing who represented England at the Commonwealth Games in Malaysia in 1998 - was arrested when he went to Holbeck Police Station later that day and indicated he had been involved in the incident.
Further suspects were arrested the next day as a detailed investigation into the full circumstances got underway.
A number of further incidents followed in the days and weeks after the Elland Road incident.
Vehicles were damaged, there were reports of masked men in 4x4 vehicles, and on two occasions stolen flatbed lorries were rammed into houses.
It is suspected there were many more incidents which were never brought to the attention of the police.
Officers also had cause to issue a number of ‘threats to life’ warnings to various individuals involved in the dispute.
This is something that is only done when there is credible information that someone’s life is in danger and preventative measures are offered to them.
As a result of comprehensive enquiries by detectives from Leeds District CID, a number of suspects were identified and arrested and the eight men now convicted were subsequently charged with conspiracy to commit violent disorder.
One piece of evidence was CCTV from a B&Q store in Beeston that showed Daniel James and another suspect buying tools the night before the incident at the Elland Road car dealership.
Even while the trial was ongoing at Leeds Crown Court police continued to receive reports of incidents believed to have involved parties on either side of the feud. A significant policing operation had to be put in place to avoid any escalation.
Detective Chief Inspector Lisa Atkinson, who led the investigation, said: “These offenders are organised criminals who were prepared to use premeditated violence to seek reprisals against their rivals in this long-running feud.
“Their actions not only put the lives of their intended targets at risk but could easily have resulted in innocent members of the public being hurt.
“Their shocking behaviour unnecessarily created fear among ordinary people who witnessed it and it simply cannot be tolerated.
“These offenders have generally refused to assist the police and think they can take the law into their own hands to sort out their disputes. They think of themselves as untouchable but this case should clearly demonstrate that no-one is above the law.
“West Yorkshire Police is committed to making sure our communities are safer and feel safer and will always do all it can to bring violent offenders to justice.
“We hope the convictions of these men and the sentences they have received will serve as a warning to others who think they can act outside of law without having to face the consequences.”
Serious Crime Prevention Orders were made against seven of those convicted which place various restrictions on them on their release from prison, including conditions around owning mobile phones.
Those jailed were: Lee James, 35, of Gelderd Road, Leeds, received a sentence of three years and nine months years; Peter James, 40, of Murton Lane, York, three years and nine months; Daniel Robert James, 38, of Bullough Lane, Rothwell, five years and three months - Daniel was also found guilty of two offences of possession of a prohibited weapon and two of possession of ammunition; Adam Kindon, 36, of Ingram Road, Leeds, three years and three months; John Kindon, 29, of Gelderd Road, Leeds, three years; Levi Pattison, 39, of Gelderd Road, Leeds, three years and three months; Steve Pattison, 35, of Hillidge Road, Leeds, three years and three months.
An eighth man, Samuel James, 54, of Spring Avenue, Leeds, was found not guilty.