Barker, Searle and Burdens sentenced for armed street fight in Houghton Regis

Luton Crown Court
Luton Crown Court

Four men convicted of taking part in a violent street fight in Houghton Regis last summer were each sentenced at Luton Crown Court this afternoon.

Metal poles, samurai nunchucks and a meat cleaver were used in the infamous brawl which took place on Recreation Road on June 25 of last year.

John Burden Snr, 49, and his sons John Burden Jnr, 26, and Shaun Burden, 22, were each convicted of violent disorder and possessing an offensive weapon (a meat cleaver, baseball bat and nunchucks respectively) on January 12 following a trial by jury.

John Burden Snr was sentenced to four years in prison for violent disorder, with a two-year sentence for possession of a bladed article to run concurrently.

Judge Lynn Tayton QC told Burden that arming himself with a meat cleaver during the disorder made his sentencing “significantly more serious”.

Burden’s elder son John Burden Jnr was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment suspended for two years, as Judge Tayton was told of continuing health problems from head injuries he sustained in the fight.

Younger son Shaun Burden will be sentenced on February 2 after a pre-sentence report has been prepared.

The Burdens’ rivals, Michael Searle, 24, and Ben Barker, 21, were also found guilty of violent disorder during the trial, and Barker was also convicted of possessing an offensive weapon.

Searle was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, and Barker was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment to run side-by-side with a six month sentence for possession of a weapon.

The jailed men were told that they would serve at least half of their sentences before being released on licence.

Since their conviction on January 12, the men have been remanded at Bedford Prison.

In spite of a court order directing the rival groups to be separated, it was revealed in court that they had been placed in a holding cell together following their conviction without incident.

Nevertheless, a restraining order was issued between the rival parties.

Burden’s family gasped aloud in court during sentencing, and family members from both groups wept bitterly outside the court room.

More on this story to follow.