Newbiggin resident provoked by drunk escapes jail

A NOISY neighbour row left a man badly injured, a court has heard.

Steven Collins of Newbiggin, who attacked his neighbour John Bell

A NOISY neighbour row left a man badly injured, a court has heard.

Steven Collins saw red after he was woken by a drunken John Bell, who was hanging around chatting to friends outside his home after a night drinking.

After arguing with his neighbour from the upstairs window he ran out of the house and launched a violent attack, which left Mr Bell fearing he could be paralysed for life.

But Collins has escaped jail after telling a court he was provoked.

The 46-year-old, of Spital Crescent, in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Northumberland, was handed a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm on Mr Bell on May 12.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how the victim had been out drinking in the area on the night of the attack.

Paul Currer, prosecuting, said: “Mr Bell had been out drinking with friends in the area where he lives and was with two female friends when he returned to his home in a very drunk state.

“He and the two females remained outside talking.

“His mother returned home from work at that time and tried to persuade Mr Bell to come in the house but he wasn’t having any of it. He walked across the street to the other side of the road near where the defendant lives.

“There was a commotion and the defendant had the window open and was disturbed by the noise. He came to his window and remonstrated regarding the noise they were making.

“He received abuse in return and went downstairs and confronted the complainant.”

At that moment Mr Bell charged at Collins, the court heard.

“The claimant removed his shirt, put his head down and ran towards the defendant,” Mr Currer continued. “He stepped out his way but accepts that he pushed him towards a wall on the drive and he collided with the wall.

“He struck the top of his head.”

Mr Bell eventually returned home, but his back began to cause him pain.

He went to the accident and emergency department, at Wansbeck General Hospital and was transferred to Newcastle General where he saw a neurosurgeon. A CT scan revealed that he had fractured a vertebrae in his neck.

Mr Bell had to undergo surgery to place a metal plate in his neck to prevent damage to his spinal cord.

Medics said it was possible he could have been paralysed.

But Caroline Goodwin, defending, said that Collins had only reacted after trouble came to him.

“This was trouble that came to his door,” she said.

Collins was given an eight-month prison sentence suspended for two years, and ordered to do 120 hours community payback work.


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