Samurai assault on pair who challenged noisy neighbours

By Robyn Rosen, August 27, 2009

A property developer assaulted his neighbour with a samurai sword after a dispute about noise reached a climax, a court heard.

Estate agent Simon Korn, of Marylebone, central London, opened his door in the early hours of October 26 last year to see pyjama-clad Simon Carson, 58, wielding an antique samurai sword.

Mr Korn grabbed the sword, accidently slashing own his hand as he grappled Mr Carson to the ground, before Mr Carson’s wife, Freddie Booker-Carson, began slapping Mr Korn’s wife, Madeline, Southwark Crown Court heard.

The two couples, both Jewish, had been involved in a dispute after the Korns began re-flooring their flat, directly above the Carsons.

This week, Mrs Booker-Carson was given an absolute discharge after admitting common assault.

Her husband had earlier been given a year’s suspended sentence after he pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Tim Clark, prosecuting, said: “This case arose out of a neighbour’s dispute, which was not run-of-the-mill.

“The parties involved were people of impeccable manner and of some means. The weapon was an antique samurai sword of some value.

“There were disputes over work being done which erupted in the early hours. Mr Korn complained about noise to the night-porter. This led to Mr Carson coming upstairs armed with the sword. Mr Korn, fearing for his safety, grabbed the sword and received serious lacerations to his hand.”

The night-porter discovered all four in a heap on the floor, and called police.

Judge Gregory Stone said that Mrs Booker-Carson, an art curator who is involved with various charities, had “impeccable character” and recognised that the court case had had a “severe” impact. He ordered that the sword, with an estimated value of £30,000, be auctioned off and the proceeds divided between the couples’ chosen charities. Mr and Mrs Korn chose Nightingale, the Jewish care home in South London, and the Carsons chose the anti-poverty charity Action Aid.

Speaking outside court, Mr Korn, 58, said that the attack had left him permanently scarred and that the trauma had left him unable to sing at shacharit each morning at South Hampstead shul.

Dr Korn, an art historian, said: “It’s had a major impact on our lives. We are angered and bewildered that two people who have been convicted have not received custodial sentences as they might have done if they lived in a council flat and couldn’t afford a QC. There is one law for the rich and one for the poor.”

Last updated: 12:04pm, August 27 2009