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Drunk lashed out at woman

PUBLISHED: 10:25 05 December 2008 | UPDATED: 21:56 05 July 2010

A drunk who assaulted an elderly woman with his walking stick after her husband complained about his behaviour has been spared Christmas in jail.

John Hewitt, 61, appeared for sentencing at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday after he admitted assaulting a 73-year-old woman on a Lowestoft-bound train.

A drunk who assaulted an elderly woman with his walking stick after her husband complained about his behaviour has been spared Christmas in jail.

John Hewitt, 61, appeared for sentencing at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday after he admitted assaulting a 73-year-old woman on a Lowestoft-bound train.

Hewitt, from Hollingsworth Road, Lowestoft, boarded a train from Norwich bound for his home town with a friend on September 15. Both had been drinking and became abusive towards other passengers.

When confronted by pensioner Cecil Fletcher, Hewitt lashed out with his walking stick and struck the 77-year-old's wife Madeleine in the face, knocking her glasses of and wounding her under the eye.

Hewitt, who receives £260 a week in incapacity benefit and disability living allowance for a list of complaints including diabetes and Parkinson's disease, was caught on CCTV and immediately pleaded guilty to offence in a police interview.

Ian Boyes, representing Hewitt, told the court his client had shown genuine shame and remorse for what he had done.

“Those who were aggrieved by his behaviour had every right to stand up and remonstrate. It was a terrible instance of rowdy behaviour which left an elderly woman injured but it was an act of stupidity rather than one of premeditated violence,” he added.

Hewitt was sentenced to a 36-week prison term for assault and 12 weeks for threatening behaviour, both suspended for 12 months. He was also given a three-month curfew order and fined a total of £975 for assaulting Madeleine Fletcher and using threatening behaviour towards Cecil Fletcher.

Judge Neil McKittrick said: “But for your early guilty plea you would be going to prison today. You showed remorse when you had sobered up and were interviewed, so I feel able to suspend your prison sentence.”

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