Man who lived in a horse box is spared custodial sentence

Mansfield Magistrates Court.

Mansfield Magistrates Court.

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A down-on-his-luck man who had been living in a horse box escaped an immediate jail sentence for attacking a friend twice after buying her some food.

Victor James Staples, who is now living in a caravan in Blidworth, had bought a bag of potatoes for his neighbour and had passed them to her as she stood on Oak Avenue chatting with another friend.

Mansfield Magistrates Court.

Mansfield Magistrates Court.

But when his neighbour joked to her friend that Staples could ‘talk for England’, he took offence and grabbed her dressing gown lapels and they both fell to the floor.

Two days later he came to her home to apologise, and they both said sorry, but got into another argument after 56-year-old Staples began talking about her brother.

Again he grabbed her by the lapels of her dressing gown and twisted it under chin, and slapped her twice in the face. She ordered him to leave.

Appearing at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court, and using a walking stick, he admitted two counts of assault by beating.

The court was told that Staples was already subject to a 13-week suspended sentence from last year after admitting three counts of causing harassment, alarm or distress, plus charges of acting in a menacing manner during telephone calls.

Defending, Mary Dixon, said the former East Midlands Airport worker had brought up his three children on his own, but had fallen on hard times and had until recently been living in a horse box in a field.

She said that Staples’ GP was concerned he was not just suffering from depression, but was possibly bi-polar in which sufferers experience extreme highs and lows and seriously affects their behaviour.

Mrs Dixon asked the magistrates not to activate his suspended sentence, adding: “There are mental health issues not explored when the suspended sentence was imposed.”

She said he was now on medication for his bi-polar.

Mrs Dixon also said that Staples was also trying to tackle drug issues that were blighting the area where his daughter lives.

The magistrates chose to defer sentencing but he is under strict orders to take the medication and not to contact the victim. He is due to re-appear for another hearing on 2nd September.