Jail warning for man who slapped woman in street row

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A man who slapped a woman during an argument in the street has been ordered to steer clear of her or face prison.

Antony Rickatson-Castro hit Alison Flint in the face using an ‘open hand’, Durham Crown Court heard.

“The argument took place outside a Co-op store in High Street, Blackhall Colliery,” said Ian West, prosecuting.

“Ms Flint’s son had reported to her being called names by the defendant, and the blow was struck as she upbraided him about it. She suffered a minor injury to the inside of her mouth.”

The court heard Rickatson-Castro was given a suspended sentence for affray after an earlier incident involving the same woman.

“On that occasion he went to her house while carrying an axe,” added Mr West.

“He threatened to smash her up and smash her place up.

“To be fair to the defendant, the head of the axe was covered, and the incident ended without violence.”

Rickatson-Castro, 24, of Shakespeare Street, Blackhall Colliery, admitted common assault and breach of a suspended sentence, both on May 11.

Jane Foley, defending, said in mitigation: “Some time has passed since both incidents, and there has been no further trouble since then.

“It would seem unjust to impose the custodial element of the suspended sentence in these circumstances.”

Judge Simon Hickey sentenced Rickatson-Castro to a community order of 12 months, a curfew of three months, and 30 days of rehabilitation activity.

Rickatson-Castro was made the subject of an indefinite restraining order banning him from contacting Ms Flint and close members of her family.

The judge told him: “The order means what it says, it includes contact by social media, and you are also prohibited from referring to the named individuals on such media.

“Breach that and you will be liable for immediate imprisonment of up to five years.”