Friday, 27 November 2015

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Violent thug threw couple into Carlisle river

A thug has been jailed for a brutal drink and drug-fuelled attack at a beauty spot in which he threw an unsuspecting couple into a river.

Grant Stewart photo
Grant Stewart

Grant Stewart left his male victim with serious facial injuries and multiple fractures to his jaw, cheek, eye socket, and nose.

A judge at Carlisle Crown Court described the bruising to his face as the worst she had ever seen.

Stewart approached the victim and his partner who were enjoying a stroll in Melbourne Park, Botcherby, Carlisle, last May, the court heard.

Stewart had been sitting on a park bench drinking with a friend and another man, Antony Hext.

The 33-year-old began speaking to the couple but they did not want to get into a conversation and walked away.

But Stewart followed them to the bank of the River Petteril before grabbing the man and starting to push him towards the water.

The man clutched onto a boulder to try to stop himself being dragged in before Stewart punched him twice in the face.

The man called out to Stewart’s friends to try to get him to stop, at which point Hext, 19, came over laughing. Hext said he would help but then punched the man in the face, knocking him into the river.

At this point the victim’s partner began to panic and Stewart chased her and pushed her into the river as well.

As she tried to get out, Stewart pushed her head back under the water making sure she was fully immersed, the court was told.

The woman was so terrified she refused to come out of the water until police arrived.

Stewart and Hext were both arrested and later questioned.

The couple, who had only moved to Carlisle shortly before the ordeal, were so traumatised they have since moved away to avoid their attackers, the court heard.

Stewart, of Lindsfarne Street, off London Road, Carlisle, had previously admitted wounding and assault, while Hext, of Chertsey Bank, Harraby, earlier pleaded guilty to assault.

Philip Andrews, defending Stewart, described the attack as “unacceptable and unpleasant violence towards vulnerable, random strangers”.

He said that Stewart had consumed a “considerable” amount of alcohol and cocaine beforehand.

Mr Andrews also told how Stewart had recently lost a finger after an incident involving a weapon, possibly a machete or knife. He may also have to have a thumb amputated and have one of his big toes removed and sewn on in its place.

Stewart had been left “deeply troubled” by this and it had made him remorseful for what he had done, Mr Andrews added.

David Birrell, for Hext, said his client had been “easily led” by Stewart.

He added that Hext suffered from an “emotionally unstable personality disorder”, but he was stable at the moment.

Mr Birrell told the court that Hext had recently secured employment and was being supported by his partner.

“He has demonstrated a commitment to change his ways,” Mr Birrell said.

Stewart was sent to prison for a total of two years and three months for his “leading role” in the attack.

Judge Barbara Forrester told him: “Your involvement was unpleasant and unacceptable to put it mildly.

“You picked on this couple for no reason and the violence was serious.”

Hext was handed a 12-month community order with supervision and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £60 – Stewart must pay £120.


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