Sunderland man spared jail for attacking neighbour with hammer after fall out

A wheelchair-bound Sunderland man was spared jail after attacking a neighbour with a hammer after a fall out.

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 7:36 am

Robert Bate, 42, hit his victim on the thigh after he and another man confronted him at the property in Roker Avenue, Roker.

In the quick-fire melee at 2pm on Thursday, July 2 last year, the metal hammer damaged the door, as did Bate’s wheelchair as he turned to leave.

Magistrates said it sounded like Bate and his victim had a “dynamic” relationship which saw them “bash seven bells out of each other” – then make up.

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Bate, also of Roker Avenue, pleaded guilty to common assault, possession of an offensive weapon and causing criminal damage.

Prosecutor Becky Slade told South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court: “The defendant and another man went to the address of the injured party.

“They banged on the door and the victim came down. Mr Bate has assaulted him by hitting on the thigh with the hammer, causing bruising.

“The door has been shut and two men leave. There was damage to the door which was caused by the injured party trying to close it, and the wheelchair.”

In a statement the victim accused Bate of “torturing” him and feared for what he may do in future.

Ms Slade described the hammer as having a black, rubber handle and a chrome head.

The court was told Bate has 19 previous convictions from 49 offences.

They include a 1998 conviction for knife possession, which meant he was subject to a minimum six-month jail term for the hammer attack.

Joanne Gatens, defending, said: “It was a foolish incident, maybe foolish doesn’t quite adequately describe the incident.

“Both live in the same locality. He did what he did. The victim wasn’t keen to go through the courts’ process, but there was evidence.

“The statutory offence is 23 years old, he’s not a man who is heavily convicted in recent times.”

Magistrates sentenced Bate to a 24-month community order, with a requirement of 25 days of rehabilitation work with the Probation Service.

He must also complete 19 sessions of the Thinking Skills programme, and was fined £80, with a £95 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.

Bate must pay £150 compensation for damaging the door, and £100 to the hammer attack victim.

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