Chester street assault stemmed from death of dog


Staff reporter (Chester First)

A MAN punched a total stranger in the stomach because he was “distressed” over the death of his dog.

Wesley Woodcroft, 30, of Powell Road, Buckley, pleaded guilty at West Cheshire Magistrates Court to one count of assault by beating after he punched Natalie Baynes in the stomach on Watergate Street, Chester, on May 9.

Rob Youds, prosecuting, said Woodcroft was seen on CCTV walking up to Miss Baynes, who was standing towards the top of The Rows on Watergate Street talking on the phone, and punched her once in the stomach before walking away in the direction of The Cross.

Mr Youds said there did not seem to be any conversation between the two before or after the incident and the blow knocked Miss Baynes to the ground.

Woodcroft was followed on CCTV and arrested by police in the city. In interview he said he had been drinking heavily and taken too much of his anti-anxiety medication.

During the interview he was shown the CCTV and he said he was stumbling because of the amount of drink he had taken and there was a coming together which “looked worse than it was”.

Mr Youds said Miss Baynes had declined to make a police complaint.

James Bagby,  defending, said Woodcroft’s behaviour stemmed from his dog being put down the day before which left him “distressed”.

Mr Bagby said Woodcroft had taken too much medication because he was not sleeping and then drank alcohol on top of the pills. Woodcroft did not remember the incident and there seemed to be no reason why he approached the woman.

The court also heard Woodcroft had recently been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and had four convictions for six offences, but none was similar.

Magistrates adjourned the case for three weeks for pre-sentence reports. Woodcroft was granted conditional bail.

See full story in the Chester Leader

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