Last man jailed for Houghton Regis street brawl

Taylor Benford
Taylor Benford

A man from Houghton Regis who absconded from police has been jailed for his part in a violent street battle in the town last summer.

20-year-old Taylor Benford failed to submit himself to police to be charged for the offences of violent disorder and carrying an offensive weapon when required to do so.

He was absent from the trial in January which saw his associates Michael Searle, 24, Ben Barker, 21, and their opponents John Burden Snr, 49, John Burden Jnr, 26, and Shaun Burden, 22, convicted for their roles in the street brawl at Recreation Road on June 25 last year.

Appearing at Luton Crown Court today, Benford was jailed for 12 months for the violent disorder to run alongside a four month sentence for possessing an offensive weapon, after pleading guilty to both offences.

His barrister Nick de Freitas told the court that the young man had “just kept his head down”.

Mr de Freitas said: “He accepts that he didn’t go to the police station in order to be charged. He accepts an element of burying his head in the sand and not taking responsibility for his actions.”

Benford was apprehended and taken to Luton Police Station on February 3, appeared before magistrates the following day and has been in custody since that time.

Mobile phone footage of the incident on June 25 captured Benford holding what appeared to be a metal pole, and throwing another item towards the three Burdens.

Sentencing Benford, Judge Lynn Tayton QC said: “By your pleas you’ve accepted that you weren’t acting in lawful self-defence.

“Viewing your actions, you were one of the more violent participants and can be seen on the road throwing something that appears to be a bar.

“In my view the bystanders, including a number of children, must have been terrified by what was going on.

“It seems to me that there are good things to be said about you but your main mitigation is that you’ve pleaded guilty where others did not.”

Benford will serve half of his sentence before being released on licence.

An £80 surcharge was made, as well as a two-year restraining order banning him from contacting John Burden Snr, John Burden Jnr, Shaun Burden, and from entering Maidenbower Avenue in Dunstable.