Pensioner dragged ex from cupboard

A PENSIONER dragged his ex-partner from a cupboard by the head after hearing rumours she was having an affair with his friend.

David Bellwood, 69, went around to the Hartlepool home of the other man and heard the voice of his ex, Stephanie Richards.

But after entering the property she was nowhere to be seen.

Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court heard Ms Richards was hiding from Bellwood in a cupboard and that he found her and dragged her out.

Prosecuting, Helen Kesterton said Bellwood had been in a relationship with Ms Richards for 11 years. But it came to an end in December 2010 and he could not accept it was over.

He was made the 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.

Yet just three days before the order expired, Bellwood went to the home of a male friend’s house after hearing that his friend and Ms Richards were now together.

Ms Kesterton said: “At 12.15pm there was a knock at the door.

“It was the defendant.

“Ms Richards was frightened of what would happen and she hid in a cupboard.

“The defendant entered the flat and she heard him say ‘I could hear a female voice’.

“He opened the cupboard door and dragged her into the living room.

“He started to shout at her, accusing her of sleeping with another male.”

Ms Kesterton said Ms Richards pushed Bellwood away and rang the police.

Officers arrived and could hear raised voices coming from the flat and Bellwood was arrested.

The court heard that in police interview he said he had gone to the flat to confront the man as he was “aware his ex-partner was having a relationship with a friend of his” and he had no idea Ms Richards would be there.

Ms Kesterton added: “He admitted pulling her out of the cupboard by the back of the head and shouting at her.”

Bellwood, of Carlisle Street, Hartlepool, who was of previous good character and is well-known in town footballing circles, admitted breaching the non-molestation order and assault by beating on February 5.

Neil Taylor, mitigating, said Ms Richards said in a statement that in no way was she physically hurt.

He added that Bellwood had brought up Ms Richards’ 12-year-old son as his own and he “found it difficult to stomach” that the relationship was over and no reason given.

Mr Taylor said: “He accepts what he did was wrong, pulling her out of a cupboard to confront her and the man and say ‘what’s going on’.

“He was angry, understandably, that a friend and his partner were having an affair.”

He urged magistrates to deal with the matter on the day of the hearing rather than ordering reports on “a 69-year-old who has never done anything wrong in his life and at the end of a relationship, having found his partner with a man and not to be told the truth about it, confronts them”.

Chairman of the magistrates’ bench Keith Kitching adjourned the case until March 15 for a pre-sentence report to be prepared and Bellwood was granted unconditional bail.