AN ex-soldier was found with a meat cleaver in his car after a road crash in South Tyneside.
John Pearson, 26, called police after crashing on the southbound carriageway of the A19 in West Boldon.
But when a traffic officer arrived, he found the meat cleaver under the driver’s seat of Pearson’s Audi A3.
Magistrates in South Tyneside heard Pearson was heading home from Boldon Cinema with his girlfriend at about 9pm on Wednesday, October 10, last year when the accident happened.
His girlfriend had to be taken to hospital by ambulance after the accident.
Pearson, who has served in Afghanistan, had pleaded not guilty to a charge of possessing a blade, saying he was due to use the meat cleaver as part of a training exercise the next day.
He admitted possession of the meat cleaver, but made a ‘special reasons defence’ that it was for use in his career in the military – to cut ropes and chop logs during operations in the field.
Pearson told the court he had purchased the item himself for Army use, and had put the meat cleaver in a sheath under the driving seat, but it had been knocked out of the casing by the force of the crash.
He was found guilty after a trial.
Pearson said: “I had owned the cleaver for about two and a half years at the time of the accident.
“It was used in basic re-enactment scenarios for what we would do in Afghanistan. The Army were aware it was in my possession.
“I was due to leave for a training exercise at 4.30am the next day. I decided to pack my car in the evening so I didn’t have to do it just before I left.”
Pearson, of The Crescent, West Rainton, County Durham, was an infantry member of the Scots Guards, serving from 2003 until December last year.
David Bryson, prosecuting, said: “If you had been setting off on the training exercise that day, that may have been a good reason to have the item in your possession.
“It is my submission in this case, it does not constitute a good reason.”
John Grierson, defending, said: “He was going on an exercise the next day and the item was secure and not in open view. It was used in his Army work and he was to use it in good course.”
Pearson also pleaded guilty to charges of making a false statement to obtain insurance, using a motor vehicle without insurance and driving otherwise than in accordance with the licence.
He had not disclosed he had points on his license from a speeding offence in 2009 to his insurers and had been disqualified from driving as a result.
The insurance offence was only discovered after the same crash last October.
Pearson said he had not received a summons to appear in court over the offence as he had been based in Germany with the Army, and was unaware he had been convicted in his absence.
The case was adjourned until tomorrow for sentencing, to allow a probation report to be made.