Russ Winter has been handed a six-month suspended prison sentence at Bodmin Magistrates’ Court after an incident with his O’Neill Highland Open trophy. The court heard last week how the weapon was confiscated by police after officers were called to reports of a public order offence outside Russells house in Newquay at around 7.30pm on July 6.
Most reports in the press so far have not put across the full story which puts a slightly different spin on the incident.
According to witnesses three inebriated men were walking down the residential road where Russ lives which leads into town when one man smashed a bottle in the street. One of Russ’s friends who was visiting told them it was a residential area to behave. The lads confronted him. As this was happening Russell turned up at his family home, and seeing his friend being verbally abused by the drunk men, tried to intervene. The men got aggressive, threatening Russ and his family and following him to his house door. Punches were thrown at him on his own door step and more threats were made.
Inside the house Russ grabbed the first thing that came to hand in an attempt too scare off the men, it happened to be his ornamental O’Neill Highland Open broadsword trophy. A fraca ensued with the men further confronting Russ, which is when police were called. At no time was anyone hit with the sword. Unfortunately when police arrive the three me who caused the whole commotion ran off and were failed to be apprehended. The police then arrested Russ, who was by now more than miffed at the situation.
Carve spoke to Russell who didn’t want to make comment but would like it pointed out that he seriously regrets the incident, in particular grabbing the sword, but feels that most sons, fathers or house owners would have reacted in some way if three drunk men start smashing bottles and being aggressive, and threatening their family outside their homes.
Russell pleaded guilty to possession of a bladed article and directing it towards another during the incident, as well as using abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to cause a fear of violence he was also ordered to pay £85 costs and an £80 victim surcharge. The three men have not been traced.
Russells sword is now to be housed at the UKPST offices at Fistral beach. Rumours it will be used to defend the Head Judge after controversial heat decisions have not been corroborated.
Russ was voted Britains greatest ever surfer in a Carve Poll a couple of years ago, he beat the likes of Kelly Slater and Occy while on the World Tour, and has won multiple English, British and European titles over the last 27 years. He will be competing at Boardmasters next week going into the event, as always, as a top favourite to take the title.