Funeral turned into battleground for warring families involving machetes and shovels


This is the shocking moment two feuding families brawled in a cemetery with machetes and axes in front of terrified mourners.

A high-speed van chase culminated in chaos at Morriston Cemetery in Swansea.

Footage shows one man chasing someone in his van through rows of gravestones before jumping out and running after him with a pickaxe handle.

Seven of the thugs involved in the violence have now been jailed, with South Wales Police branding it an ‘appalling incident’.

Coffey is seen clutching a piece of wood before he gets out of his van

Footage of the violent scenes on August 5 last year was caught on the dashcam of James Coffey, 45, who has since been jailed for more than two years for his role.

It starts by showing him running to the driver’s side door of a van, as a black Volkswagen Golf skids and collides with another vehicle in the background. 

Dashcam footage shows a man clutching a machete

Another camera in the van shows two others get in as Coffey drives it at speed down a cemetery path in pursuit of another vehicle.

After getting out of the van the two groups can be seen clashing, before Coffey returns to the vehicle with blood pouring from his head.

Two people were seriously injured following the incident, including one teenager who was taken to hospital after being stabbed.

Armed police were called to the scene by shocked members of the public, while videos recorded by onlookers showed the chaos unfolding within the cemetery. 

The incident took place at a graveside blessing that was being attended by both sides of a family, with the violence breaking out after a group of armed men arrived, WalesOnline reports.

Swansea Crown Court heard it was the latest in a long-running feud between various members of the extended family, with judge Paul Thomas KC saying many of those involved had been on ‘high alert’ for violence at the funeral.

He added it was ‘beyond the realms of coincidence’ that those attending the service all had weapons including machetes, hammers, shovels and other implements ‘available for use’ straight away when things turned violent.

James Coffey, 45, from Rumney, was jailed for two years and three months for violent disorder, possession of offensive weapon and dangerous driving.

Jeffrey Tawse and John Coffey, both 24 and from Rumney, were jailed for 18 months for violent disorder and possession of offensive weapon.

Patrick Joseph Murphy, 40, from Llanelli, was jailed for two years and eight months for violent disorder and possession of offensive weapon.

Andrew John Thomas, 40, from Llanelli, was jailed for three years for violent disorder and dangerous driving.

John Joe O’Brien, 53, from Llanelli, was jailed for 16 months for violent disorder and possession of offensive weapon.

Martin John O’Brien, 58, from Llanelli, was jailed for 16 months for violent disorder and possession of offensive weapon.

Paddy Murphy, 19, and John Murphy, 18, the teenage sons of Patrick Murphy, were given suspended jail sentences and ordered to undertake unpaid work. 

Detective Chief Inspector Mike Owens said: ‘This was an absolutely appalling incident that would have terrified those peacefully attending the cemetery in the middle of the day.

‘The group, who are all known to each other, committed violent offences and were seen using weapons against each other.

‘I hope the sentences today provide reassurance to the community that this kind of criminal behaviour won’t be tolerated and anybody committing these acts will face the consequence of their actions.

‘The investigation team were resolute in their commitment to fully investigate the disorder in the cemetery, working with other police forces to detain and investigate the individuals involved.’


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