A vicious fight between feuding families living near Welshpool descended into chaos over a dispute about a plot.

Bridget Gallagher was hit with a metal bar by Helen Stokes who shouted "you're going to die" before the pair fought on the floor grabbing hair and scratching each other.

Welshpool Magistrates' Court was told that there had been a lot of tension between the families at Leighton Arches, a small cul-de-sac and traveller site with caravans, following the death of a resident and the allocation of a plot.

The disorder on January 5, which was filmed by a resident, and was one of a number of incidents in recent months, the court heard.

Prosecutor Helen Tench said Bridget Gallagher, who was visiting from London, called up to 20 of her family members to stand outside Stokes’ home. Hearing shouting, screaming and several fights in the street, 53-year-old Stokes “aggressively” waved a metal bar above her head which was around her size in height before hitting Mrs Gallagher causing her to feel dizzy.


Robert Hanratty, acting on behalf of Stokes, said the mother-of-seven had never been in trouble before.

"She is very protective about her children," he said. "There had been series of incidents, not involving Mrs Stokes, but there was a serious incident involving her daughter who was stabbed by a knife.

"This night there was a lot of shouting going on with lots of people out in the street.

"The metal bar, being more of a mop handle, was brought out from somebody and thrown into her garden and she picks it up and seems to strike out at Mrs Gallagher.

"She then grabbed her by the hair and the pair ended scratching each other significantly on the floor with lots of screaming and shouting going on.

"Mrs Gallagher has gone back to London."

Probation officer Julian Davies said despite Stokes showing little remorse for her actions that night, she accepts that she could have done things differently.

County Times:

"Mrs Stokes tells me she has lived on the council-owned site for 21 years without issues," he said.

"In August 2022, a family moved on site who the defendant said they had been evicted from their last site. Since then, regular issues have occurred.

"Mrs Stokes said a large group of this family’s friends were outside the property and she felt worried and threatened for her and her family's safety.

"A bar was picked up to defend the family which perceived aggression from the other family.

"Mrs Stokes said she had already reported issues to the police and felt nothing had been done about it."

Stokes, of Leighton Arches, was ordered to complete a 12-month community order with 15 rehabilitation days to address a conflict resolution deficit. She must also pay a £60 fine, £114 victim surcharge and £300 court costs after pleading guilty to affray "at the last minute".

Compensation was not awarded to Mrs Gallagher because the magistrates felt that it would exacerbate the situation.