A Chesham man who was accused of attacking a man with a chair leg shortly after he had been building Ikea furniture has been found not guilty.

Edwin Sapsford, aged 20, of Bois Avenue in Chesham Bois, appeared at Aylesbury Crown Court today where he pleaded not guilty to assault by beating and possession of an offensive weapon in a public place.

During the trial, which lasted around four hours, prosecutor James Batten alleged that on March 16, at around 10.30pm, Mr Sapsford was in Hervines Park in Amersham, when he attacked another man, Thomas Lee, with a wooden chair leg.

However, when he took to the witness stand, Mr Sapsford accused his alleged victim of being the aggressor, telling the jury that Mr Lee, along with another man, had actually attacked him.

After deliberating, the jury found that Mr Sapsford was not guilty of either offence.

What took place on March 16?

Giving evidence this morning, Thomas Lee, the alleged victim, told the court what he thought had happened in Hervines Park.

Mr Lee explained that he knew the defendant, and that he lived nearby and had gone out for walk that evening when he heard someone behind him.

He said: “I was just walking down the road and heard someone coming up behind me and I turned around and I’ve been whacked three times with a chair leg.

“Two times on my left side and once on the top of my left leg.”

Describing what took place after the attack, Mr Lee told the court that he managed to get Mr Sapsford in a “headlock” and they both fell to the ground, with the weapon also hitting the floor.

The court heard that while Mr Lee and Mr Sapsford were on the ground, Mr Lee took out his phone, picked up the chair leg, and took a photo of it on his phone.

When defence barrister Johan Grefstad asked why Mr Lee immediately took a photo of the chair leg, Mr Lee said he did it “for the police officers”, and that he phoned 101 shortly after.

The court also heard how following the altercation, Mr Sapsford picked up the chair leg and ran back to his home, about 15 minutes away.

What was Edwin Sapsford’s side of the story?

When Mr Sapsford took to the witness stand to give evidence, he told the court that he was the victim of a chair leg assault and had been lured to the park by an unknown stranger.

Taking questions from Mr Grefstad, Mr Sapsford told the court that he had been at home with his mother, building a piece of Ikea furniture.

The court later learned that this item of furniture was a sofa bed and did not include any chair legs.

He said: “The phone rang, and my mother answered. She passed me the phone.

“He said ‘it’s Owen, come meet me in Hervines Park, I’ve got something for you.’”

Despite not knowing who Owen was, and not agreeing on a place to meet in the park, Mr Sapsford told the court he set off from his home to the park in Longfield Drive.

Mr Sapsford said that when he got to the park, he found Owen, who asked him where he could find Thomas Lee. The pair then saw Thomas Lee walk past them.

Describing what happened from then on, Mr Sapsford said: “Thomas Lee went around the corner, and then Owen went around the corner.

“They both came around and Thomas Lee swung what I assumed at the time was a large stick. I managed to get the stick but was kicked twice by Owen.”

When Mr Lee was asked earlier about what had taken place, he denied being the aggressor and told the court he had been alone that night and did not know anyone called Owen.

Mr Sapsford said that after the altercation, he picked up the chair leg and took it home to his bedroom. About 10 minutes after he got home, police arrived and arrested him.

After hearing a summary of the evidence from judge Francis Sheridan, the jury was sent to consider the two charges, and returned not guilty verdicts later this afternoon.

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