BRAVE men who disarmed a dangerous driver who was threatening them with an axe have been praised by a judge.

At the sentencing of Jonathan Ogden, for numerous offences, including house robbery with a machete, Judge Timothy Stead heard how Daniel Hughes and Matthew Jones had run after the defendant and kept him captive until police arrived.

Judge Stead commented: “I think that Daniel Hughes and Matthew Jones showed themselves to be, not just good citizens, but brave in tackling Jonathan Ogden, particularly in the face of the fact that at one point, although he did not use it, he armed himself with a hatchet.

“And I think they should be commended. In so far as it is my power to commend them, I do so.”

Simon Barrett, prosecuting, had told the court how, on November 14, 2017, Mr Hughes, with his children in his Jaguar car, was driving along Wigan Road, Leigh.

As he started to turn into Hillcrest Avenue a Seat Leon, driven by Ogden, was overtaking several vehicles on the wrong side of the road at up to 45mph.

“He hit the front offside of Mr Hughes’ vehicle. That was knocked out of the road and the defendant’s vehicle continued and crashed into a nearby fence,” said Mr Barrett.

Ogden started to run off but Mr Hughes and witness Matthew Jones chased after him and brought him back to the scene.

Ogden was put into the back of his Seat to await police.

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“He was kicking at the doors in order to try to get out. At one point he went into the front passenger footwell, grabbed and axe and got out of the vehicle,” said Mr Barrett.

“He came at me with the axe. I thought he was going to hit me,” Mr Hughes later told police.

The axe was taken from Ogden and he was restrained until police arrived and he was arrested.

Ogden was not listed to appear in court charged with dangerous driving and threatening with an offensive weapon until 17 months after the offences. Just days after the magistrates’ hearing he committed night time armed robberies at two houses.

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Judge Stead questioned why Ogden was allowed to keep his liberty for so long before being taken to court.

“I am particularly anxious for the complainants in the two robberies because they may want to know how it is someone can carry on committing significant and serious offences and not be actually reduced into custody,” he said.

The court heard that Ogden had also committed a burglary at Digital Exchange Products Ltd in Lord Street, Leigh on December 15 last year, smashing the front window, ransacking the building and causing £2,000 worth of damage.

Then 10 days later, Ogden stole the keys to a woman’s BMW from a table in the Greyhound pub, Leigh. But shortly afterwards he retuned to the premise to tell the owner, Amy Winstanley, “I’ve just trashed your car.”

He had lost control of the car and crashed it into a pub on Chapel Street, writing off the vehicle.

Ogden, aged 28, of Grasmere Street, Leigh, pleaded guilty to the dangerous driving and threatening with an axe and, together with other offences he admitted, was sentenced to 10 years and eight months in prison.