Sunderland thug spared jail after launching unprovoked attack on Good Samaritan motorist

Andrew Dove was handed a suspended sentence for his part in a violent attack on Good Samaritan bus driver Steven Howe
Andrew Dove was handed a suspended sentence for his part in a violent attack on Good Samaritan bus driver Steven Howe
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A Good Samaritan motorist was knocked unconscious in an unprovoked attack when he stopped to try and help at what he thought was a road accident.

Bus driver Steven Howe was making his way home from work in the early hours of May 1 last year in his own car when he saw what he believed to be a crashed vehicle at Leechmere Road in Sunderland and wanted to assist.

Newcastle Crown Court heard when he approached he formed the view that the person at the wheel was unfit to drive and went to walk away.

In response to his kindness, three people knocked the 54-year-old to the ground, where he was beaten and kicked.

His own car, which was his "pride and joy" was damaged during the attack.

The violence left Mr Howe, and others who saw what happened, "shaken and shocked".

Mr Howe had injuries to his eye, slack teeth, a sore jaw, swellings and tenderness to his face.

At Newcastle Crown Court Andrew Dove, 25, of Portland Road, Plains Farm, Sunderland, admitted being part of the violence and pleaded guilty to

assault.

Miss Recorder Sarah Mallett said: "Mr Howe was driving home from work in the early hours of the morning. He saw a crashed car and he was good enough to stop and help.

"He thought that the person was unfit to drive and went to leave.

"As he was trying to back away he was punched. He fell to the ground and then he was kicked.

"He was, albeit briefly, unconscious.

"He was shaken and shocked and has caused him to question whether, in similar circumstances, he would behave the same way and stop to help other people."

The judge accepted Dove, who is not heavily convicted, feels genuine remorse for his involvement and is usually a responsible hard worker with

commitments.

She told him: "I take the view this was a one-off incident.

"You had consumed alcohol to such an extent it effected your behaviour in this way."

The judge said it was a "very, very close thing" but the inevitable prison sentence could be suspended on this occasion.

Dove was sentenced to ten months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with 200 hours unpaid work, a six month night time curfew, £500 compensation and £1,399 costs.