A man has been jailed after threatening to kill his aunt on her own doorstep in a dispute over a family farm inheritance.
Kelvin Lloyd Jones, 32, took a knife out of his pocket to reinforce his threats and made a motion as if to slide it across his own throat.
He then shook his victim’s hand and said she should ensure the farm was signed over to other family members within 24 hours.
Jones, a self-employed builder in Wales, who is the grandson of the original farm owner, was jailed for 18 months.
He admitted making a threat to kill his aunt Helen Jones on August 31, possessing a knife, drink driving and harassing his uncle John Jones between August 5 and September 1.
He also admitted an earlier unprovoked attack on his former brother-in-law Mark Hampson, who was punched through the window of his vehicle parked in Dyserth and left with a black eye.
A five-year restraining order was made not to approach his uncle and aunt or their two daughters, or go to their homes.
According to sector specialists Bruton Knowles, farming families are just as likely to fall out as anybody else – but prolonged disputes over land, properties and succession often involve sums far larger than those in the domestic sector.
Tim Wilson from the firm’s Gloucester office is an independent qualified mediator who has been settling disputes for the past 25 years, helping clients save enormous costs and avoid going to court.
He works throughout the UK and is based in North Somerset.
“As the high value of farms and estates can run into many millions there is much at stake – and potentially so much to lose – it is hardly surprising that farmers are just as likely to fall out as others.”
“And after 25 years there isn’t a lot I haven’t heard when it comes to business fall-outs, family rows, professional indemnity claims, property and employment disputes and school fee claims.”
He continued: “One recent case involved a West Country farmer who was looking to divide his property amongst his three children – all of whom had subsequently fallen out over the proposed settlement. Significant savings were made by using mediation rather than going to Court.”
When the gloves come off, the costs start to spiral and the legal fees can be enormous.
A recent professional negligence claim of £425,000 against the project managers of a building project was settled at mediation, avoiding court action and saving substantial costs.
Not to mention the enormous stress of preparing a case to go before the courts.
From tenant farmers to families, from pipelines to probate, about 85 per cent of disputes are resolved using an unbiased and independent mediator as a neutral third party.
Mediation is regarded as an opportunity for the parties to talk through the issues rather than wasting the court’s time.
Judges favour mediation - saying it is ridiculous that so many cases are going to court – when there is no guarantee of a successful outcome.