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A 43-YEAR-OLD assaulted a man in his own home following a row over a dog, a court heard.

Anthony Forrester, aged 43, of St Luke’s Court, Hanley, was handed a 10-month sentence for assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Yesterday Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court was told Forrester, who has 28 previous convictions, hit Roger Rixon on May 12 leaving the victim needing hospital treatment.

After initially pleading not guilty to the charge, Forrester reversed his plea ahead of a court trial.

Fiona Cortese, prosecuting, said: “At about 7.30pm Mr Rixon had drank three litres of cider and the defendant was in the living room.

“During the argument the defendant punched him and then left the house.

“He was arrested on May 14 and said Mr Rixon was shouting at him. He said he had drank two cans of cider and regretted his actions and denied stepping on him.”

Although Mr Rixon claimed he had suffered a broken nose during the assault there was no medical evidence to back up his claim.

A statement by Forrester read out in court stated: “Mr Rixon and I argued and I punched him in the face and he grabbed my leg, so I kicked out.

“I don’t accept that I stamped on him and I deny I broke his nose.”

Hamish Noble, defending, said: “It was an argument over a dog and the condition the dog was in.

“He knows what he did was wrong and that he shouldn’t have done it.

“The defendant left a special school with no qualifications and moved on to drink and drugs.

“He now has settled accommodation in Hanley and lives there with his son.”

Judge Granville Styler said: “This was an unpleasant attack.

“If you continue with gratuitous violence you’ll get longer and longer prison sentences.”

Stoke Sentinel

ALCOHOLIC Anthony Forrester attacked two supermarket security guards – after they asked him to pay for a bar of chocolate he had stolen and eaten.

The 44-year-old was in the Marks and Spencer store, in Hanley, on October 17 when he picked up a 69p bar of chocolate and ate it without paying.

North Staffordshire Magistrates Court heard yesterday how store security guards Ian Creed and Bekezela Ndlovu followed Forrester to Iceland, in Charles Street, to ask him to pay for the food.

Prosecuting, Giles Rowden said: “Mr Forrester picked up a bar of chocolate and ate it and threw the wrapper away.

“He was approached by the security guards and told them he would pay for it, but he then left the store.

“The security guards saw the defendant in the Iceland store where he became abusive.” The court heard that he racially abused and swore at Mr Ndlovu claimed he was a member of the English Defence League.

Mr Rowden added: “He was using abusive language towards Mr Ndlovu, who was just trying to do his job.

“The other security guard was then punched in the head and bit on the hand. Forrester was then arrested, but on the way to custody he damaged a Perspex cage belonging to Staffordshire Police.”

Forrester, of St Luke’s Court, in Hanley, pleaded guilty to five charges which included theft, assault by beating, criminal damage and using racially abusive and offensive language.

Defending, Nicola Bell, said: “Mr Forrester has not appeared before the court in a long time. He has tried to tackle what is a very real alcohol problem which he has not been very successful at addressing.

“These are serious offences and they are in the context of the record of a man who is now 44 years of age.”

Miss Bell added: “There are two sides to Anthony Forrester. He can be extremely vile and unacceptable, but then there is the Anthony Forrester who wants to change and wants to address issues from the past.

“There are deep-rooted problems here, but the daily issue is the alcohol.”

Magistrates told Forrester: “This was a nasty, alcohol-fuelled incident.”

He was handed an eight-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months with 12 months supervision and an alcohol treatment requirement for using racially abusive language and the same punishment for the assault on Ian Creed, to run concurrently.

He was given no further penalty for the theft and criminal damage charges.

However, he was told to pay £165 costs and £100 compensation to the victims as well as £20 for damage to Mr Creed’s watch and 69p to Marks and Spencer for the chocolate.


Stoke Sentinal

Anthony_Forrester

Lee wells 1

A HOMELESS man attacked a worker going home from a Christmas party so severely his face had to be reconstructed.

Nineteen-year-old Lee Wells, who was on bail for brandishing a hammer 10 days earlier, set on 42-year-old Robert Johnson outside the YMCA hostel in Harding Road, Hanley.

The incident occurred in the early hours of December 6 last year as Mr Johnson made his way from The Quality Hotel in Trinity Street.

He was left with a fractured jaw and eye sockets and had to undergo four operations to have plates inserted into his face.

Wells, of no fixed address, who pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm, was sentenced at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court yesterday.

Paul Spratt, prosecuting, said: “Mr Johnson left the Quality Hotel in Hanley some time after midnight.

“He had no other recollection of the events that occurred except that he was the subject of assault leading to substantial injuries.

“On returning home he realised he had forgotten his keys and left them at the Quality Hotel.”

Mr Johnson then returned by taxi to the hotel, where he collected his keys and set off home again.

Mr Spratt added: “It was at the point that he was walking back from Hanley town centre past the YMCA that the attack occurred. He says he was attacked but has no recollection of the attack as it occurred.”

The court heard Mr Johnson had been left with headaches, numbness in his face and difficulty eating as a result of the incident.

At the time of the attack, Wells was on bail for an incident on November 25 when he was caught with a hammer in Harding Road. On that occasion, he was in the company of two other men who were found with an African-style club and a knife.

He tried to prevent arrest by hiding in a ground floor storeroom of the hostel but was discovered.

Sarah Badrawy, defending, said Wells had experienced a very difficult upbringing. She said: “He had a number of adverse events at a crucial stage in his life.

“He suffered from rejection from both his family and rejection from his foster family.

“It is at that stage he found himself of no fixed abode. He spent his life moving from different friends’ sofas and homeless hostels.”

Referring to two psychiatric reports, Judge Granville Styler said Wells was “very dangerous young man” but said he was limited in his sentencing options.

He imposed a 12-month jail sentence for possessing an offensive weapon and affray, and 30 months consecutively for the grievous bodily harm.

He said: “The public should know that the psychiatric report says he poses a high risk of serious harm to others.”

Stoke Sentinel

AN ENGLISH Defence League demonstrator who was at the forefront of a group which broke police lines has been jailed for 16 months.

Mark Doel became involved in violence at the demonstration in Hanley city centre on Saturday, January 23

Prosecutor Paul Spratt told Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court yesterday that at about 1.30pm, items were being thrown at police including glass bottles, cans and a smoke cannister.

“About 100 people had broken free from the group being cordoned to come round the rear of the police lines,” said Mr Spratt.

“A police dog handler became aware of a group of men at the rear of the police unit.

“He then saw the defendant run to the front and shout abuse at the officers.

“He (Doel) kicked out to the back of a slightly built female officer and punched her to her helmet, causing her to fall to the ground.

“She was later assaulted by another individual and was kicked and stamped on.”

The court heard the police dog took hold of the defendant. He kicked out and struck the dog and others tried to drag him back into the crowd.

But the dog maintained its grip and Doel was arrested.

In his police interview, he admitted being present at the demonstration but denied violent disorder and assaulting a police officer.

He pleaded guilty to affray at an earlier hearing.

The pleas were accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Peter McCartney, for the defence, said Doel was not a member of the EDL and visited the Potteries on the invitation of a friend.

He said the 43-year-old, who has numerous convictions for violence and disorder but none for 15 years, regrets getting into trouble.

“It was the first demonstration he has attended,” said Mr McCartney. “He came along. He did not intend to involve himself in violence, but the situation carried him along and he did get involved.”

Judge Granville Styler said an immediate custodial sentence had to be passed.

“This was a very serious matter,” the judge told Doel, a father-of-one from Primrose Hill, Batley, West Yorkshire.

“You travelled to Stoke-on-Trent and, I take the view, you travelled in order to take part in a demonstration. You consumed five pints of lager.

“You knew the police were having difficulties restraining an increasingly violent crowd.

“You were at the forefront of a breakaway group. You attacked a policewoman from behind and knocked her to the ground. It was an extremely dangerous situation. And it encouraged others to attack this officer while on the ground, and she was stamped on.

“It is clear to me you have not put your violent past behind you.”

Judge Styler said he would like the Chief Constable to commend the dog handler for his bravery.

This is Staffordshire

Simon Beech and Garreth Foster denied setting fire to the mosque

Simon Beech and Garreth Foster denied setting fire to the mosque

Two men have each been sentenced to 10 years in prison after being found guilty of deliberately setting fire to a Stoke-on-Trent mosque.

Ex-soldier Simon Beech, 23, and Garreth Foster, 29, both from Stoke, were found guilty of setting fire to Hanley’s Regent Road mosque on 3 December.

The pair had denied committing arson with intent to endanger life.

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard it was in revenge for Muslim extremists burning poppies on Armistice Day.

Beech told the court during the four-day trial that he had been a member of the English Defence League and the British National Party. But he said he was not racist and did not believe his views to be extreme.

‘Nuke all mosques’

Paul Spratt, prosecuting, told the jury of five men and seven women that police had been able to establish that Beech “felt very strongly about Muslims” after accessing his Facebook account.

“He found persons through Facebook who had like-minded views. One observation he plainly agreed with was ‘Nuke All Mosques’.”

The mosque, which was partially built at the time of the fire, had not been fitted out

The jury heard that one of Beech’s online comments read: “The time has come. They burn our poppies, we burn their place. Burn the lot of them out.”

Beech told jurors his views were not aimed at the whole Muslim community but at extremist individuals.

When giving evidence in his defence Foster told the court: “I have always personally got on well with Muslims.

“Throughout all my schools I have always had Asian friends.”

The pair both denied running a pipe into the building from a nearby gas meter in a bid to spark an explosion at the mosque, which suffered about £50,000 damage as a result of the fire.

Community ‘dignified’

Speaking after the verdicts were delivered, Rana Tufail, a member of the mosque committee, said it was “difficult” to describe the arson attack.

He said: “It is a community project.

“They have put their soul into it. They have put their earnings into it and they [Beech and Foster] tried to destroy it.

“We are happy that it’s still standing.”

Ch Supt Bernie O’Rielly, from Staffordshire Police, added that he had no doubts that the pair’s intention was to “blow the mosque up”.

“Without doubt that would have caused hate in the community, division in the community and broken down all the cohesion and good work we do,” he said.

“The community around this area have been an absolute credit. They’ve acted with such restraint and so dignified in the face of such provocation.”

BBC News