Conditional discharge for pensioner who dragged ex from cupboard

Dave Bellwood outside of Hartlepool Magistrates Court.  Picture by FRANK REID
Dave Bellwood outside of Hartlepool Magistrates Court. Picture by FRANK REID

A PENSIONER who dragged his former partner from a cupboard by the head after hearing rumours she was having an affair with his friend has been ordered to pay her £100 compensation.

Magistrates went against guidelines, which had suggested a community order and sentenced 69-year-old David Bellwood to a 12-month conditional discharge after he admitted assaulting his 29-year-old ex-partner Stephanie Richards.

Justices at Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court were told that Bellwood had gone around to the home of the other man and heard the woman’s voice, though she was nowhere to be seen.

Prosecuting, Graham Jacobs said: “He attended an address where she was, having heard from someone she was in a relationship with somebody else.

“He arrived at the door and having heard his voice, she was frightened to such a degree that she hid inside a cabinet.

“He entered the premises and searched for her.

“He opened the door and dragged her from it by the back of the head or neck and accused her of having an affair.”

The court heard the police were called and found the woman “being addressed in very forceful terms”.

Mr Jacobs added: “He was interviewed and effectively said they had separated and he had difficulty accepting A, it had come to an end, and B, she had moved on to somebody else.”

Magistrates were told that the pair had been in a relationship for 11 years and Bellwood had brought up the woman’s 12-year-old son as his own.

But it had come to an end in December 2010.

Following numerous phone calls from Bellwood, he was made subject to a non-molestation order on February 8 last year, which banned him from going within 150ft of her or using violence towards her.

But Bellwood went around to the house where she hid in a cupboard just three days before the order was due to expire.

Bellwood, of Carlisle Street, Hartlepool, admitted breaching the non-molestation order and assault by beating on February 5.

Neil Taylor, mitigating, asked magistrates to take into account Bellwood’s age and previous good character.

He said the victim suffered no injuries, but conceded that Bellwood was forceful in bringing her out of the cupboard.

“By the mere fact he put her in fear of the actions he made makes him guilty of common assault,” he added.

“What he finds difficult to deal with now is not the end of the relationship but access to the child being stopped.”

Bellwood must also pay £85 costs.

Magistrates did not impose a restraining order, despite a recommendation by Mr Jacobs.