Startled residents called police as fists began to fly between uniformed salesmen from rival double-glazing companies in an up-market street, a court heard today.
One of the men had to be taken to hospital after the trio, canvassers from SRJ Windows, based in Rosyth, and Dunfermline-based CR Smith, met while trying to drum up businesses in leafy Daniel Avenue, Dunblane.
Stirling Sheriff Court was told that SRJ Windows’ salesman Darren Cross had an “ongoing disagreement” with CR Smith’s representative Darren Reape.
Mr Reape, 27, had moved to CR Smith from SRJ where he and Cross, 34, were once colleagues and where he had been trained by the third salesmen present on the street, Andrew Jenkins, 29.
Mr Reape had left SRJ four months earlier after a short period of working alongside Cross and Jenkins.
Prosecutor Cheryl Clark said: “When he was there he didn’t get along with Mr Jenkins or Mr Cross. I believe he had reported them to their manager over things he didn’t like about them.
“They weren’t on good terms.
“On the particular day in question, the 21st of July 2017, he was working for his new company in Dunblane.
“About 2.00 pm Cross and Jenkins, also working as door canvassers, were dropped off in the area by their manager and the parties came across one another.
“Mr Cross and Mr Reape became involved in an argument, which became physical and a struggle broke out between them.
“This was a residential street.
“All the parties were in their work uniforms.
“Due to the struggle going on between Mr Cross and Mr Reape, Mr Jenkins became involved and struck Mr Reape in the face.”
The depute fiscal said it was accepted this blow was in defence of Mr Cross, and it caused Mr Reape to fall to the ground; however once he was on the ground Jenkins repeatedly punched him and kicked him.
Miss Clark said: “Bystanders in their gardens and people driving by in vehicles could see this going on.”
The fracas then broke up. Jenkins and Cross left the area, Mr Reape was attended to by residents, and police were called.
Paramedics took Mr Reape to hospital, where it was initially feared he might have a fractured eye socket. It transpired nothing was broken, and he had a black eye, swollen cheek, and a cut over his eyebrow, which was closed with steri-strips.
Jenkins, of Duncan Cresecent, Dunfermline, and Cross, of Bittern Court, also Dunfermline, had been due to face trial by jury accused of assaulting Mr Reape by battering him repeatedly with a glass bottle and repeatedly punching, kicking and stamping on his head and body, causing impairment.
But during a lengthy delay caused by the breakdown of technical equipment, the Crown agreed to accept a plea of not guilty from Cross, and a plea of guilty from Jenkins to a lesser charge of assaulting Mr Reape by punching and kicking him.
Cross left the dock and while defence agent Stephen Morrison, for Jenkins -- who is now unemployed -- asked for a deferral for background reports.
He said: “Mr Jenkins is unaware of any reports being made by Mr Reape to Mr Jenkins’ then boss. Mr Jenkins trained Mr Reape.
“It’s fair to say they didn’t see eye-to-eye, and having left the firm, Mr Reape had some sort of ongoing disagreement with Mr Cross on social media.
“At times it became quite vitriolic.
“The parties found themselves in the same street, and a fight developed between Darren Reape and Darren Cross.
“Mr Jenkins only became involved when his friend and co-worker screamed for help.
“Mr Cross claims Mr Reape was trying to gouge his eye out.
“Mr Jenkins saw blood coming from his friend’s face.
“He attempted to pull Mr Reape away. Mr Reape turned and attempted unsuccessfully to punch Mr Jenkins. Mr Jenkins then punched Mr Reape in self defence.
“Mr Reape fell and grabbed Mr Jenkins’ legs on the way down.
“Both of them ended up on the ground. Mr Jenkins accepts he was able to disentangle himself and whilst beginning to get up he accepts he punched Mr Reape to the head a number of times and as he got to his feet he accepts he also a number of times delivered kicks to his body.”
Sheriff Wyllie Robertson deferred sentence until January 9th for reports and released Jenkins on bail.
Outside court, Jenkins said: “It didn’t happen the way it sounded. It’s utter fabrication that he made reports about me, but it is what it is.”
Darren Cross declined to comment.