Man attacked Darlington flat-mate in row over loud music

First published in News Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by

A BAD-TEMPERED yob left his flat-mate with three fractured ribs after shoving him down the stairs in a row over music, a court heard.

Stuart Harris was also repeatedly punched as he lay defenceless on the landing after pulling the plug on Lewis Helsop's deafening sound system.

Teesside Crown Court heard that Heslop went to stay with Mr Harris and another man after being released from prison in March this year.

Sue Jacobs, prosecuting, said there had been no problems between the two until a day in May when Heslop was playing music with a friend.

Mr Harris asked them to turn down the volume when it got so loud they had to shout to hear one another, but Heslop, 22, switched it higher.

When the plug was pulled out, he yelled at Mr Harris: “What are you doing? I pay my rent so I can listen to my music.”

Jonathan Walker, mitigating, said the shove was reckless rather then intentional.

He described the lout as “a rudderless young man” but told Judge Simon Bourne-Arton, QC: “He has a healthy level of insight.

“While the circumstances are ugly and the consequences are serious, it is unusual because it is reckless rather than a determined attempt to harm.”

Heslop, of Regents Court, Darlington, admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm and was given a 30-week suspended prison sentence.

The court heard he has previous convictions for violence and public disorder, and spent last Christmas behind bars.

Judge Bourne-Arton told him: “I dare say you believed you might be spending this Christmas inside and I thought that too.

“But I have been persuaded by Mr Walker to just step back from that for the time being."

Heslop was also ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work for the community and undergo supervision, which will include anger-management classes.

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