Suspended sentence for Elton man who attacked woman


Natalie Barnett

A MAN punched a grandmother to the face and wrestled her to the floor, a court heard.

The attack came after a history of feuding between Gary Hesketh and his family with victim, Ruth Bell, magistrates in Chester heard.

Hesketh, 28, of Dairy Bank, Elton, near Chester, launched himself at Ms Bell after they met outside their local shops. Hesketh began raining punches on the victim after a heated exchange between the pair.

The attack followed an incident earlier in the day on November 9. Hesketh and his mother were involved in a confrontation with Ms Bell over the speed in which they were said to be travelling along the street where the victim lived and her grandchildren were riding bicycles.

Debbie Byrne, prosecuting said: “Ten weeks ago when the incident happened, Ms Bell was standing on the doorstep watching her grandsons cycling when she saw Mrs Hesketh, who she thought was driving too fast and showed concern.”

In a statement Ms Bell, 56, claimed an obscene gesture was made as the vehicle drove past.

Later that day, at about 4.30pm, Ms Bell visited a DIY shop and saw the defendant, as the pair exchanged glances. As Ms Bell walked past Hesketh, she heard him mutter an obscenity under his breath. He then threatened her and warned her not to touch his mother, Mrs Byrne added.

Hesketh then launched himself at Ms Bell, who recalled feeling a flurry of punches to her face. The pair wrestled on the floor before Ms Bell, with blood running down her face, managed to push Hesketh away.

Hesketh, who during police interview did not show any remorse for the incident, pleaded guilty to assault before West Cheshire Magistrates.

Howard Jones, defending, said the incident was the result of a history of feuding between the victim and Mr Hesketh’s mother.

“There is ill feeling between the two,” said Mr Jones.

Mr Jones said Hesketh lost his temper as threats were issued against him and his mother. He said Hesketh was someone who had, over time, used illicit drugs and alcohol which had led to a deterioration in his mental health.

Mr Jones added: “He acted inappropriately to what he thought was a threat against his family, he regrets his actions now and apologises to the complainant.”

Hesketh was given a 15 week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, with supervision and a requirement to attend the Thinking Skills programme.

He was given a two year restraining order and ordered to undertake 60 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £300 compensation to Ms Bell, and an £80 victim surcharge.

See full story in the Chester Leader

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