A FAMILY feud over a scratched car escalated into an Ellesmere Port town centre punch-up.

Simon Doherty, Martin McGinley and Barney McGinley all got involved in the incident, which happened at about 1.45pm on December 23, 2019.

At Chester Magistrates Court on Friday, January 17, all three pleaded guilty to using threatening behaviour with intent to cause violence.

Prosecuting, Alison Warburton showed the court CCTV footage of the scuffle, which happened at the junction of Exeter Road and Whitby Road, and lasted less than three minutes.

When interviewed, Martin McGinley, 39, of Fourth Avenue, Talacre, said he and his son Barney McGinley, 18, had been out shopping and he was in his car doing a three-point turn when his son got out of the car and faced Doherty, his son's cousin.

Six months ago, one of the family members' cars had been scratched while they were out in Ireland and there had been ongoing issues since then.

When asked by police if he thought the fight would make passers-by fear for their safety, McGinley disagreed, saying: "It's Ellesmere Port, and people are used to it."

Barney McGinley, when interviewed, said he saw his cousin's vehicle and his cousin getting out.

Doherty, 21, of Thorndale, Skelmersale, when interviewed, said he thought McGinley wanted to speak before they fought.

He said he felt sorry for members of the public who saw the incident.

Barney McGinley had two previous convictions, while Martin McGinley and Doherty had one previous conviction each.

Richard Thomas, defending both McGinleys, said both expressed genuine remorse in their interview.

"There are ongoing problems between the families," Mr Thomasd explained.

"Six months ago, a car was damaged and there was bad blood between the two.

"They just happened to both be in Ellesmere Port at the same time at the same street. Unfortunately Barney McGinley and Simon Doherty came out of their vehicles and got together.

"Punches were thrown and they go on the floor.

"Culturally, in the Travelling community, you would have sorted this out in the field. He [Martin McGinley] made a comment about Ellesmere Port, people not being too bothered about it. No-one made a complaint about it.

"It was very much an isolated incident. Had police not arrived it would have been the end of it."

Mr Thomas added, of the McGinleys: "You could not meet two more pleasant members of the Travelling community. They were totally apologetic about what they had done. They surprised police with how polite they were."

John Black, defending Doherty, said it was a fight between family members and Doherty had pleaded guilty to throwing punches.

Chair of magistrates Stephen Graham, sentencing the trio, said: "You have all said you are sorry for what you did.

"The public domain is not the place to solve family disputes."

All three were fined.

Martin McGinley must pay a £400 fine, plus £85 court costs and a £45 victim surcharge. Doherty was fined £300 plus £85 court costs and a £32 victim surcharge and Barney McGinley was fined £225, plus £85 court costs and a £32 victim surcharge.